Lightning strike damages popular KC sculpture

Posted at 2:20 PM, May 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 08:51:39-04

The Bartle Hall Sky Stations, which sit atop the Kansas City Convention Center, are a familiar landmark of the downtown area and have helped establish Kansas City as an art city.

City workers found damage from a lightning strike on one pylon during a routine examination of the Sky Stations. 

"We were up there changing the lights to blue for the Royals, and we noticed a tear on one of the pillars" said Eric Bosch, an architect for the city of Kansas City. "We came back up with a big crew, and they did a complete examination of it, and we determined it was not fixable up in the sky, so we are going to bring it down."

On Sunday morning, efforts to remove the pylon and repair the damage began. Spectators lined the streets surrounding Bartle Hall to watch as a crane helicopter moved the 40-foot sculpture.

The Sky Stations have decorated the Kansas City skyline since 1994, a year iron worker John Peffly fondly recalled as he watched his son work atop the 300-foot sculpture.

"My son was five years old when they set these. He is 25 now. It's pretty important for me to watch my son do this," said Peffly.

Repairs to the Sky Station will cost an estimated $1.3 million. The city's insurance policy will cover the costs.

The Zahner Company, a family-owned firm based out of Kansas City, will reinstall the stainless steel and aluminum sculpture September 11.


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