Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new International Friendship Bell Peace Pavilion will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 21, at the bell’s new location in Alvin K. Bissell Park, just west of the Oak Ridge Civic Center.
Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch will be master of ceremonies for the groundbreaking. The Oak Valley Baptist Church Choir will present a music program relating to the friendship and peace theme of the event. Pat Postma and Alan Tatum, co-chairs of the International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee, will take part in the ceremonies.
Major donors—including UT Battelle/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and CNS-Y-12—will participate in breaking ground for the new pavilion, a press release said.
The bell, created for Oak Ridge’s 50th birthday, is expected to bring its message of peace and friendship to the thousands of visitors expected at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, the press release said.. The new pavilion for the bell came about after city officials discovered that structural beams in the original bell house had severely deteriorated.
With the bell housing in danger of collapsing, the City of Oak Ridge tasked the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board with making short-term and long-term recommendations. A decision was made to demolish the original pavilion and place the bell on timbers at the site. The advisory board formed the ad hoc International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a new pavilion design and raise funds for the project.
Architect Ziad Demian, founding partner of demian\wilbur\architects of Washington, D.C., designed the new Peace Pavilion and its surrounding plaza, with gardens and benches. He plans to attend the groundbreaking, the press release said.
Following the groundbreaking, an International Day of Peace observance will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the current Friendship Bell site on Bissell Park. Hosting that event are the Oak Ridge Girl Scout Service Unit and the International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee.
The Oak Ridge High School Ensemble, directed by Amanda Ragan; The Sorta Singers, of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church; and the Girl Scouts will provide music for the occasion, the press release said. Oak Ridge Girl Scouts and members of the “Oak Ridge Rocks” Facebook page will “Rock the Bell” by placing rocks painted with a peace theme at the Bell site. They will invite participants to take a rock to keep or relocate.
This press release and photo were submitted by Kay Brookshire.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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