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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Bonfire memorial progressing

 
 

Construction on the Bonfire Memorial, slated to be competed this fall, is making progress as the first delivery of granite panel stones arrived from China late last month, Texas A&M officials said.
Preparations for the memorial to honor the 12 Aggies killed and 27 injured in the Nov. 18, 1999 Aggie Bonfire Collapse began last year.
The granite panel and stones, part of the tradition plaza and history walk, are going to be installed this month, said Martha Raney, administrative assistant for the Bonfire Memorial
In May, the granite portals of the spirit ring will be installed. In August the bronze portals of the spirit ring will be installed, and the construction will be completed in October, Raney said.
A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2004, the fifth anniversary of the collapse.
Richard West, father of Nathan West, one of the 12 students killed in the collapse, recommended a firm in Houston that could the ship the granite to College Station from China, said Bob Shemwell, who is with Overland Partners, the company designing the memorial.
“The reason why China is importing the granite is because they were providing us with the right sizes of granite, they met the price point and the delivery schedule,” Shemwell said.
Raney said money for the granite is coming from private funds, and money from A&M is not being used.
“We ordered the granite over the summer, and it took about five months for them to come in,” Raney said.
Shemwell said there are more shipments coming and that all of the shipments should be delivered to A&M within six weeks to two months. Lane Stephenson, deputy director for University Relations, said the granite portals that were delivered are each bigger than a car.
Raney said the memorial design is broken into three ideas: the tradition that brought people together, a connecting path, which will walk visitors through the 89-year history of Bonfire preceding the collapse and the continuous ring shares the spirit that united individuals and made them a part of something greater than themselves. The 89 stones represent the number of years Bonfire burned on the A&M campus.
The memorial also includes 27 stone panels,which will connect to the portals to make a complete circle, she said. Bronze panels connecting each stone will represent the students who were injured.
Raney said there are 12 portals that stand for the 12 who died, with each portal facing the direction of their hometowns.
“This project means a lot to me,” Shemwell said. “It’s not easy working directly with the families of the men and women who died in the collapse. It is very emotional but also helps in healing.”
Two vertical planes separate the commotion of the outer world from the intimate experience of the memorial, Raney said.
“This is going to be a remarkable and very impressive memorial,” Raney said.”It is amazing how many stones are being used, and it is a first-class memorial – especially for the price. I think the bronze panels that connect each stone will look wonderful.”
Click here for the Bonfire Memorial website.

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