Glasgow Science Centre Tower to re-open in 2014

The Glasgow Science Centre Tower will reopen in the summer of 2014. Picture: Martyn Jenkins/Flickr

The Glasgow Science Centre Tower will reopen in the summer of 2014. Picture: Martyn Jenkins/Flickr

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A rotating tower at a city visitor attraction is to reopen next summer almost four years after people were last allowed up it.

The 127m (417ft) Glasgow Science Centre Tower opened in 2001 but was plagued by problems and has been shut since September 2009.

It will reopen after a £1.8 million renovation, funded by settlements with the original contractors and support from Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Council.

This will cover repairing wear and tear to the thrust bearing and replacing the lifts.

Stephen Breslin, chief executive of Glasgow Science Centre, said: “I am thrilled to announce Glasgow Tower will open again to visitors in summer 2014.

“I have been working with colleagues, external supporters and professional advisers over the last year to develop solutions to allow us to reopen it. I am confident that the new lift design and maintenance work will allow us to operate the Tower reliably.”

The tower is said to be the only building in the world capable of rotating 360 degrees into the prevailing wind and offers panoramic views of up to 20 miles.

But the structure, which was not ready when the Queen officially opened the Science Centre in July 2001, has been hit by a series of problems throughout its lifetime.

It opened to the public in October 2001 but the opening ceremony was postponed to a week later due to problems with the lifts.

In February 2002 the tower was forced to close when it emerged that a base bearing had failed and it was sinking into the ground.

In one of the most dramatic incidents, 10 people were trapped in its lift for five hours in January 2005. Six adults and four children were in the lift halfway up the tower when one of the cables snapped.

Glasgow Science Centre said consultants and contractors have carried out an “extensive design and planning process” to ensure that the works will provide a “robust and reliable solution to the technical issues relating to the operation of the Tower” which will be fully rotating when it reopens.

Allan McQuade, business infrastructure director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “The Glasgow Tower is a unique attraction and an important element of the visitor experience for the Glasgow Science Centre and the Creative Clyde area as a whole.

“Having the tower fully operational will complement other developments, such as the recent opening of the SSE Hydro Arena on the opposite side of the River Clyde.

“These iconic structures firmly cement Glasgow’s reputation for bold architectural statements and enhance our tourism and cultural attractiveness globally.”

Bailie Liz Cameron, executive member for jobs and the economy at Glasgow City Council, said: “The reopening of the Glasgow Tower at Glasgow Science Centre will be marvellous for the city, making a visit to the Clydeside even more attractive.

“The renovation of this building, truly one of a kind, will allow everyone to appreciate the cutting-edge design and science behind the tower, and see it making its full contribution to Glasgow’s proud scientific and engineering heritage.”

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