Oakland University Elliott Tower

The Project

The Elliott Tower is located on the Oakland University Campus in Rochester, MI.   The tower, financed by philanthropists Hugh and Nancy Elliott, is a 151-foot carillon tower, complete with a clock and a set of fixed bells sounded by hammers controlled by a keyboard. This tower is the second largest of it’s kind in the nation.  Complemented by a water fountain, garden, and landscaping, the tower will be a focal point for students and campus activities.   It symbolizes pride in past accomplishments as well as the promise of future success for the university and student body.  

Spalding DeDecker (SD) was chosen to provide the following Scope of Services:

  • Topographical Survey
  • Engineering Site Design
  • Construction Staking
  • Water and Storm Sewer Design Plan

The Challenge

Constructing a structure that will stand tall is a test of time and expertise.  The tower’s high visibility at the center of campus, and being a high profile project, meant there was a low margin for error.  Raising the 5,000-lb set of bells in the tower demanded diligence and accuracy of placement.  The plaza’s unique water fountain presented an intricate issue of coordinating water supply and drainage, while relocating existing utilities.  

The Solution

The combination of what you know and who you know was timely in this project.  SD had an existing relationship with the contractor, and worked with them to set deep ‘control points’ during the construction process.  Measuring the steel as it was erected helped ensure plumbness to within 1/4” tolerance.  The tower’s cap was erected on the ground and lifted into place by a crane without incident or injury.   The tower was outfitted with a titanium roof in order to weather the fiercest storm.  SD’s provisions for drain-pipe elevations and de-watering meant that Michigan winter’s would not freeze expensive infrastructure.  

The Impact

University life is fueled by camaraderie of purpose.  Our buildings, towers, and gardens inspire our sense of community.  The Elliott Tower has become a hub of activity, underscored with music.  Summer carillon recitals have brought international guests and broadened horizons.  SD is proud to have been a part of creating this new history for Oakland University.   We’re excited to talk to you more about this amazing landmark … “just meet us at the Tower.”