Honoring the lives of those who served in the U.S. military with monuments and memorials is a time-honored tradition. Ensuring those monuments are kept in pristine condition for the lives they represent is a Western Specialty Contractors priority.
The Springfield, Ill., branch of Western Specialty Contractors, a masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing firm, recently restored the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial Globe in Springfield’s historic Oak Ridge Cemetery, which also is home to President Abraham Lincoln’s tomb and vault.
The Globe, designed by artist Dan Nardi, was constructed in 2004 by pouring concrete into molds to create the details of raised continents and oceans. Numbered stainless-steel pins are inserted into the Globe to indicate the locations of World War II battles. Black granite walls, inscribed with the names of the battles that correlate to the pin locations, flank two sides of the memorial.
The exterior of the Globe was showing signs of wear with cracking and spalling concrete evident near the top of the memorial. A protective coating previously applied to the Globe was also flaking off. The restoration project began with Western Specialty Contractors crews erecting scaffolding around the Globe and covering it with netting to contain any debris and protect it from further exposure while repairs were being made. Photos, along with chalks of the memorial’s shape, were taken prior to demo work to ensure all pieces were put back in their exact locations.
Crews began by saw-cutting the damaged areas and repairing them with a polymer-modified concrete repair mortar. The shapes of the continents and the Globe’s longitude and latitude lines were reformed and finished—under the watchful eye of the artist—to match the existing profile.
Once these repairs were complete, crews covered all the stainless-steel buttons and began wet-abrasive blasting the Globe’s surface to remove any remaining coating and provide profiling for the new coating. Any small pockets that showed following the prep work were filled in to smooth the surface. After the surface had dried, Western Specialty Contractors applied a concrete primer and two coats of elastomeric coating in flat white to match the original color.
“It was challenging working on a round object, which was made easier with the use of scaffolding,” explains Scott Haas, Western Specialty Contractors’ Springfield branch manager. “We wanted to ensure that we kept the shape, profile and layout of the Globe exactly as the artist had intended. Taking our time through planning, chalks and pictures enabled us to accomplish that goal. It was an honor to be chosen to work on this project. Through our efforts, this memorial will be protected and looking beautiful for many more years to come for
people to visit and enjoy.”
PHOTOS: Western Specialty Contractors
- Concrete Primer//Loxon from The Sherwin-Williams Co.
- Elastomeric Coating // ConFlex XL from The Sherwin-Williams Co.