Alma's getting ready to come home

Alma's getting ready to come home

She plans to live-tweet her progress back to campus next week as she returns from a Chicago conservation studio after more than a year of rehab.

Alma Mater is scheduled to be loaded up on a flatbed truck on April 8 and kept overnight at "an undisclosed location," then head to Champaign starting at 6 a.m. April 9, said campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

She'll arrive back home at the corner of Wright and Green streets around 10 a.m., and the reinstallation is expected to take two to four hours, Kaler said. It will require a crane to lift the 10,000-pound sculpture, and part of the area will be blocked off to allow access for the flatbed truck.

The campus will set up a webcam at the site so viewers can watch the reinstallation on the UI's website,, she said.

The sculpture, unveiled by UI artist Lorado Taft in 1929, was removed Aug. 7, 2012, and sent to the Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio in Forest Park for restoration following years of water corrosion damage. Conservator Andrzej Dajnowski and his crew replaced more than 1,000 rusted and deteriorating bolts, laser-cleaned the surface and restored the sculpture to a bronze finish.

The reconstruction project cost about $360,000 and was paid for with alumni donations.

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