The Minneapolis City Hall clock tower could tell time again as soon as Friday — at least on its eastern face.

But the renovation, which was scheduled to wrap up in November, won’t be complete until the end of February, said Erin Delaney, director of the Municipal Building Commission. She said cold, windy weather and the discovery of unexpected damage have delayed the project.

Workers found damage from weather and natural aging on the inside and outside of the clock tower, including corrosion and rusting, at the start of the construction process, she said.

The interior masonry work on all four clock faces is complete, and three of the four ceramic clock faces have been demolished and replaced with glass. Crews will demolish the final ceramic face on the west side this week.

Cast aluminum hands will be installed and running on the east face by Friday, and the south face will follow suit shortly after, Delaney said.

The city approved a $2.6 million budget for renovations, though construction costs are expected to come in at just under $2.1 million, Delaney said. The delay is not expected to increase costs for the project, which was bid at a set price.

During the project, workers also found cracks in the clock tower’s north side. They will check the remaining tower walls for cracks and assess the cost of repairs.

When the clock is done, it will have frosted glass clock faces, backlit by LED lights, and aluminum hands — a design more historically appropriate for the 125-year-old building than the clock’s previous neon glow.

“Our intention is to restore it accurately and have it around for another 125 years,” Delaney said.

Pieces of the old ceramic clock faces were donated to more than 200 local artists. The west clock face will be pieced back together for educational purposes. Area museums, including the Hennepin History Museum and Minnesota Historical Society, have expressed interest in housing the ceramic clock face, Delaney said.


Jessie Bekker is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.