HomeThe MarketCorvette museum reveals Skydome repair plan details, timetable

Corvette museum reveals Skydome repair plan details, timetable



Repairs begin mid-November, should be finished next July | National Corvette Museum
Repairs begin mid-November, should be finished next July | National Corvette Museum

Officials of the National Corvette Museum met Wednesday with contractor staff and engineers to review “the plan, process and timeline for remediating the sinkhole and repairing the Skydome building,” the museum said in a news release.

That construction is to begin November 10 at the museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and scheduled for completion in July 2015.

“We appreciate all of the support, feedback, ideas and prayers throughout this very interesting time in our history,” said Wendell Strode, the museum’s executive director, in the news release.

“Sunday, November 9 will be the very last day to see the sinkhole up close and in person,” Strode added. “So if you’ve been wanting to check it out for yourself, you have just over three weeks to do so.”

Visitors photo the hole beneath the Skydome
Visitors photo the hole beneath the Skydome

While visitor viewing within the Skydome will be halted during the reconstruction process, the museum said the Plexiglas viewing window will remain in place so visitors can watch as the work progresses. The web cams that provided a live feed as the damaged cars were lifted from the abyss will be removed during the reconstruction process.

Here’s the plan for the work:

  • Beginning in late November and continuing through December, sheet piling will be installed to block the openings in the cave that stretches well beyond the Sinkhole;
  • Some 4,000 tons of fist-sized No. 2 stone will be used to fill the chasm; this process should be completed in mid-January 2015;
  • After the void is filled, electrical, water and heating/ventilation/air-conditioning work will take place in the Skydone (through mid-February);
  • From mid-February through late March, 46 micro piles and additional grade beams will be installed; the micro piles will be spaced 15 to 20 feet apart and will extend to an average depth of more than 140 feet to ensure that if another collapse were to occur, the floor would remain intact;
  • Additional stone and a new concrete slab floor will be installed (anticipated completion date is late April);
  • A new entrance to the Skydome will be constructed with a garage door and emergency exits; also taking place over a two-month period will be other repairs, painting, installation of new lights, cleaning and readying the facility for its reopening. Also being done in those final weeks will be a redesigned drainage system and a 12-foot paved perimeter around the Skydome.

The construction project is budgeted at more than $3.2 million.

The new floor will be a single level, without the stairs or ramps of the former design. The museum said the garage door will make it easier to move cars in and out and will provide an open-air entry for after-hours facility rentals.

Six of the eight Corvettes swallowed by the hole remain on display at the museum. The other two have been removed so their restoration can begin.


Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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