If you’ve been to BARN lately, you may have noticed something missing: The large metal arches and observatory shutter that BARN metal artisans have been working on for the Battle Point Astronomical Association — are gone!

This past Monday evening, Patrick Clanton finished welding the arches, and volunteers loaded them onto Mo Ellis’s trailer. Then, volunteers delivered them to the observatory along with the shutter made last fall.

This exciting community service project has been a year in the making. Clanton, a gifted professional welder who teaches TIG welding at BARN, performed the welding. Former Metal Fabrication Lead and BPAA Board Member Peter Moseley says once the new pieces are painted, volunteers will remove the old shutter, transfer the old components to the new arches, and test the fit. After a few final preparations on the observatory roof, they’ll remove the Ritchie telescope and do some interior work before installing a new telescope that will better meet the organization’s needs.

It’s a big job, and just the latest in a series of projects BARN artisans have worked on for BPAA:

Back in 2019, Moseley, fellow BPAA board member Frank Petrie, Stan Stumbo, Steve RuhlKen Warman, and others from the BARN Metal Fab machine shop rebuilt the declination axis bearings on the Ritchie telescope from drawings prepared by David Browning, another BARN and BPAA member.

In another project, BARN wood shop volunteers constructed bookshelves, an entry desk, and 12 storage boxes on rollers for the observatory. A $20,000 COBI grant helped pay for materials

Last fall, Moseley and Bob Mathisrud created an aluminum ring to support the observatory’s new planetarium dome.

Here are some photos of the moving operation from Moseley: