It’s About Time: Landmark UWEC clock tower ticking again

UWEC Integrated Marketing and Communications

For the first time in seven-plus years, UW-Eau Claire’s iconic clock tower is back on the campus mall and keeping the right time.

The clock tower was originally installed on UW-Eau Claire’s campus mall in January 1987. For many years, the clock tower was a gathering place for students and the backdrop for countless campus photos.

However, as UW-Eau Claire’s lower campus underwent a dramatic face-lift, the clock tower was temporarily moved to the east side of Phillips Hall along Roosevelt Avenue.

With major building projects, including a new Davies Center and Centennial Hall, complete, it was “time” to bring the clock tower back to its place at the center of campus. The clock tower, incorporated into the design of what’s now the Garfield Avenue pedestrian area, now again stands in a prominent place, this time at the entrance to the campus mall.

However, much to the dismay of Blugolds on campus, the clock tower’s four faces often displayed four different times – and none of the four times were accurate.

It turns out that though the structural components of the clock tower have been in good order for the life of the structure, the inner workings of the clock deteriorated through the years.

While it was quickly determined that an internal motor had burned out, getting it repaired was quite the challenge. Multiple attempts to repair it failed, as did efforts to find someone with the skills and tools to get the job done.

Fortunately, during a visit to UW-River Falls in April, a UW-Eau Claire administrator noticed a clock tower that was similar to the one on UW-Eau Claire’s campus.

Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for facilities and university relations, tasked UW-Eau Claire’s facilities staff with tracking down the clock maintenance vendor that services UW-River Falls’ clock.

It turns out that this “time” they were able to get it right. Four new faces, motors, and timing mechanisms were installed. In early October, repairs were completed.

Finally, beginning on Monday, Oct. 14, the clock tower again is a highly visible landmark on the campus mall and all four of its faces are displaying the same – accurate – time.