Thursday, February 27, 2014

Skydome Update from Construction Manager, Car Extraction Plan Announced

Providing timely updates on the Corvette sinkhole incident has always been a priority for the Museum. In an effort to provide everyone with as much information as possible, Mike Murphy with Scott, Murphy and Daniel, our Construction Management company, has written an update as to the work that has been completed and the plan for work moving forward.

We’ve named the project this because for something to raise from a base level ‘up’ equals moving in a ‘+’ direction.  Our ultimate goal is to keep the existing building ‘up’ in its original position, raise the Corvettes in the hole ‘up’, then bring the fill in the hole ‘up’ and lastly, bring the concrete floor back ‘up’ to its original level.

We are very appreciative of the National Corvette Museum, Chubb Insurance and VanMeter Insurance Group to allow us to assemble the best group of professionals to effectively and accurately ‘heal this horrendous hole’ in the Skydome.  Our reputation both in business and personally, obligates us to hold the best interest of our community partner in mind 24/7 until the project is completed.

Since the beginning of the project, the number one goal is to ‘proceed cautiously ‘ with the recovery and reconstruction in such a manner to keep safety of the facility and the workers the main priority and number two,  plan and perform in a positive (+) direction daily.  Because there are so many unknowns within the boundaries of this project, having an exact schedule ‘in stone’ is not practical or possible.  Every day’s planning and action determines the next step in executing a successful operation.

THIS WEEK (2/24/2014)
We began the week finishing shallow test borings in the remainder of the Skydome floor to insure there was no immediate danger of another sink hole collapse happening in the remaining floor space. These tests proved successful.

Before heavy equipment such as manlifts, excavators and cranes (which are on site and ready to approach the sink hole area) could be brought into the Skydome area, deeper test drilling was performed to insure a sufficient thickness of earth and rock was present to support this equipment’s entry and operation. The last test hole was completed Wednesday morning and the ‘positive data’ recorded has now been turned over to the engineers and geologists for their analysis and verification. Additionally on Wednesday, drillers moved their operation to the outside foundation of the Skydome and have begun the drilling, high-strength grouting and installation of steel cased micro piling connected to the dome’s perimeter foundation. This operation, securing and reinforcing the building’s foundation, will continue for approximately 1 ½ to 2 weeks. 

Today, Thursday (2/26/14), we received ‘the go ahead’ by the professionals to give the ‘green light’ to bring equipment into the area and begin the set-up and preparation for the cranes to suspend engineers and contractors safely into the middle of the sink area and examine closer the condition of the hole and finalize the recovery plan, determine exact measurements for lifting and verify techniques for beginning the removal of the ‘three’ most assessable vehicles (those not embedded into the embankment). The mobilizing of equipment and accessories, along with the final planning and hole condition examination should finish this week’s work schedule through Saturday, as the outside piling installation continues. There is a suspended steel ring around the spire in which the lighting and sprinkler system is located. A quick test run on Wednesday is indicating the possibility to disconnect the system and raise it above the needed working area of the crane booms. This could possibly cause a day’s delay in the recovery operation should this be determined once cranes are in their designated positions.

Everyone should keep in mind that a special operation such as this cannot be on an ‘exact planned schedule’ like a new building under construction is often orchestrated.  Concerns and calculations which insure the safety of the building and workforce will remain our #1 priority, even if it impedes our schedule to insure that each task is performed exact and successful.

NEXT WEEK (3/3/2014)
We anticipate if all plans and factors work successfully, the removal of the first three vehicles will begin during the day on Monday, in hopes to have all three cars extracted by Wednesday. The first car to be removed is the 2009 ZR1 "Blue Devil." There may be some complications when removing the 1962 Black Corvette because the 5 ton concrete slab resting against the front of the car must be lifted simultaneously and in conjunction with the lifting of the vehicle. We will be allowing approved media to film INSIDE of the Skydome during the first car's removal.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

National Corvette Museum "Open for Business"

Tours, Deliveries, Rentals carry on as usual; Viewing window added for visitor glimpse of sinkhole

February 12, 2014 is a day that will go down in the history books of Corvette, a day when a large sinkhole opened up in one of the most unusual spots – the Skydome area of the National Corvette Museum, taking eight prized Corvettes with it. Teams of engineers and construction personnel have been on-site since day one, securing the area and moving forward with the remediation of the sinkhole. While the Museum was closed to the public on the day of the unfortunate event, we re-opened the following day and have been open normal hours since then. The Skydome area of the Museum is the only portion currently closed to the public.

The safety of Museum employees and guests is our #1 priority, and with that in mind we wanted to share information from our team of experienced professionals as to safety and stabilization of the building.

“Concerning the safety of the facility at the National Corvette Museum, it is important to understand that the Skydome is an independent structure that is isolated from the remainder of the facility with a building expansion joint. The collapse of the slab-on-grade within the Skydome has not compromised the structures of the remaining facility. Furthermore, it should be noted that the Skydome structure has been closely monitored and exhibits no signs of displacement or member distress at this time.”
– Kevin Krantz, Structural Engineer, K&S Engineering, PLLC

“Having spent 40 years living and working in the Bowling Green area, sinkholes and our Karst geology are a fact of life for our Firm and our community. Of the many sinkhole remediation projects that we have consulted on, I cannot recall any situation where additional sinkhole collapses have occurred as a result of an initial collapse. We have no reason to believe that the situation at the National Corvette Museum is any different. For the safety of the public, our Firm has monitored the facility daily since the morning of the collapse and will continue to monitor the facility daily until all repairs are completed. During this monitoring, we have seen no indication of additional collapses therefore, we believe that the National Corvette Museum is safe and encourage the public to continue visiting.”
- Dennis D. Smith, PE, PLS, M.ASCE and Matt Rogers, PE, M.ASCE, DDS Engineering, PLLC

“In Bowling Green, Kentucky, we are highly knowledgeable about sinkholes and caves, as we have studied them for many decades through pioneering work done at WKU and from others. This area of the country is an iconic example of a landscape where sinkholes occur. In recent years, our knowledge and understanding, along with the technology and science to better study these landforms, has advanced significantly. Living, visiting, or vacationing in an area like Bowling Green, KY is as safe as anywhere else in the country. In fact, millions come very year specifically to visit places like Mammoth Cave and our natural parks solely because of their interesting and dynamic geology and water features! “
– Dr. Jason Polk, Assistant Professor of Geography and Geology, Western Kentucky University. Dr. Polk also recommends for more information on Bowling Green’s karst landscape.

Two barrier walls have been installed between the Skydome building and the rest of the Museum. One wall includes a video monitor which shows live webcam footage of the work being completed in the Skydome. The other wall incorporates a plexi-glass viewing area so that guests may witness the sinkhole for themselves from a safe distance. Both areas are part of the Museum tour and included with regular admission.

The National Corvette Museum is open daily, 8am to 5pm and is located at I-65 exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Learn more about the Museum at and get the latest updates on the Museum’s Facebook Fan page at

Friday, February 14, 2014

Construction Management Company Updates Community on Sinkhole Game Plan

On Thursday, February 13 the Museum held a press conference to update everyone on the game plan for the sinkhole.  Mike Murphy, CEO of Scott, Murphy & Daniel Construction, shared that sinkholes are very common for this area, but that what is not common is for one to swallow eight Corvettes.  He stated that it is repairable and the building foundation and structure is in good condition.

The plans for moving forward include securing the sinkhole and surrounding areas so that even if the Museum were to experience future sinkholes nearby it would not affect the Museum.  It will take 2-3 weeks to stabilize and secure the area (the red spire, the walls of the sinkhole), after which the process of vehicle recovery will begin.  The team will be making sure the sinkhole is safe and that no further damage will occur before starting vehicle recover.

The vehicle recovery process is anticipated to take 4-6 days to retrieve the vehicles.  After that, they will replace the earth and floor system.

"We have a good plan and it takes action tomorrow [Friday]," stated Mike.  He added that they don't foresee any problems, and that they have accomplished a lot in the past 24 hours.

Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode added their confidence in the process being complete in time for the National Corvette Museum's 20th Anniversary Celebration August 27-30 and the Grand Opening of the NCM Motorsports Park.

Register for the Museum's 20th Anniversary event online here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chevrolet to Oversee Restoration of Historic Corvettes

Museum cars damaged in sinkhole collapse will be shipped to Warren Mich. 

DETROIT – To help the National Corvette Museum recover from the massive sink hole, Chevrolet will be overseeing restoration of the Corvettes damaged. The process will be managed by General Motors Design in Warren, Mich. 
“The vehicles at the National Corvette Museum are some of the most significant in automotive history,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president of General Motors Global Product Development. “There can only be one 1-millionth Corvette ever built. We want to ensure as many of the damaged cars are restored as possible so fans from around the world can enjoy them when the Museum reopens.”
The restoration will be overseen by Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design.
When the cars are recovered, they will be shipped to the Mechanical Assembly facility, a small specialty shop within GM Design, where the best restoration approach will be determined. Mechanical Assembly has been part of GM Design since the 1930s, and today maintains and restores many of the vehicles in the GM Heritage Collection and GM’s historic concept cars.
The National Corvette Museum is independently owned, and supported solely by charitable donations from enthusiasts. It is currently accepting donations on its website to assist in refurbishing the facility. Donations are tax-deductible.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year.  Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

New GM Corvette Assembly Plant Manager Jeff Lamarche announces GM will oversee the restoration off all cars recovered from the sinkhole. Jeff also pledged his support with a personal monetary donation.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sinkhole Collapses at National Corvette Museum

We received a call at 5:44am from our security company alerting us of our motion detectors going off in our Skydome area of the Museum. Upon arrival it was discovered that a sinkhole had collapsed within the Museum. No one was in or around the Museum at the time. The Bowling Green Fire Department arrived on the scene and secured the area. The Fire Department has estimated the size of the hole is 40 feet across and 25-30 feet deep.

It is with heavy hearts that we report that eight Corvettes were affected by this incident. Those cars include:
  • 1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors
  • 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” on loan from General Motors

The other six vehicles were owned by the National Corvette Museum including:

  • 1962 Black Corvette
  • 1984 PPG Pace Car
  • 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
  • 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
  • 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
  • 2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette

None of the cars affected were on loan from individuals. The Skydome exhibit area of the Museum is a separate structure connected to the main Museum. A structural engineer is now on-site to assess the existing damage and stability of the surrounding areas. The Museum is closed to the public for the day to allow us to carefully assess the situation. We will keep everyone informed as we know more.

With the 20th Anniversary celebration, Grand Opening of the NCM Motorsports Park, and the National Corvette Caravan coming August 27-30, we’ve got a lot to be excited about in 2014, and look forward to getting the Skydome repaired and reopened very soon.


The National Corvette Museum is the ‘Gateway to All Things Corvette’ and a member-driven, 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation. Weekly news on the latest Corvette developments, racing updates, event features and raffles are available by subscribing to “NCM eNews” at: Dedicated to the mission of celebration, education and preservation, the Museum is open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT - located at Exit 28 on I-65 in Bowling Green, KY.
Media Contacts:
Wendell Strode, Executive Director – 270-467-8814
Katie Frassinelli, Marketing & Communications Manager – 270-467-8846
Bob Bubnis, Communications Coordinator – 270-467-8805

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

National Corvette Museum Foundation Receives 2014 State Farm Grant

Grant helps further Museum’s mission of education

In an effort to further drivers’ educational programming at the National Corvette Museum, State Farm has awarded the Museum with a 2014 Grant. The Museum plans to utilize the $14,000 grant to furnish classrooms, purchase necessary technology and provide a golf cart for teen driving courses and other drivers’ education classes to be held at the new NCM Motorsports Park.

Kellie Steen, Education & Community Events Coordinator at the National Corvette Museum, is ecstatic about the State Farm Grant and the further development of the classes. Steen focused the grant application on drivers’ safety and further explained the potential use of the grant.

“Each of our courses have different activities.  Some are in classroom settings, some are hands-on instruction and others are conducted on simulators,” said Steen. “The grant money will be put to excellent use in helping to furnish a classroom in the NCM Motorsports Park Control Tower, at which these clinics will be held.  New tables, chairs, laptop, projector screen and a golf cart will be purchased with the State Farm Grant money to make auto and teen driver safety an even more popular experience, and allow our teens to become more experienced drivers.”

State Farm provides grants in three areas: safety, community development and education. The National Corvette Museum provides numerous courses in regards to teen driver education, auto and roadway safety, which are values that State Farm directs funding towards with their grants.

“State Farm knows that vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death for young people,” said Patrick Warren, Vice President of Agency/Sales for State Farm. “That’s why we promote programs like Celebrate My Drive. We are committed to keeping young drivers safe and are pleased to support the efforts of the National Corvette Museum.”

Powder Puff Mechanics CourseThe National Corvette Museum hosts several programs for teen drivers. Some popular courses offered include Car Control and Situational Awareness Clinics geared towards those with permits and newly licensed drivers; Street Survival, offering hands-on experience in-car; Powder Puff Mechanics, designed to help attendees be more knowledgeable about their car; and many others. All classes are limited in size, which means courses offered often fill up quickly--some even with waiting lists.

Each year students benefit from the courses that are offered and leave with the tools to be safe, careful, aware and well-prepared drivers. Expanding these courses is now possible with the generosity of State Farm.

About State Farm®:
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit or in Canada

About the NCM Drivers’ Safety Academy
The National Corvette Museum offers a series of driver's education clinics to help teens and adults become safer drivers. Each course is tailored to a specific audience. The Museum is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky at I-65, exit 28 and is open daily, 8am-5pm.  Upcoming drivers’ clinics and information on programs offered is available at

Thursday, February 6, 2014

National Corvette Museum joins the Bloomington Gold Great Hall

Museum chosen to be one of 10 inducted into the Great Hall for 2014

Bloomington Gold has announced their list of 2014 “Great Hall” inductees with the National Corvette Museum being one of ten to earn the recognition this year. The Great Hall was established in 2010 by Bloomington Gold as a five-year project to honor the 50 most influential people, cars and organizations that have had a pioneering influence on the Corvette world.

The National Corvette Museum has pioneered several events that have had a significant impact on the Corvette world-- one being the Corvette Caravan. The Corvette Caravan has been called the biggest moving event in the world. Every five years, thousands of Corvettes stream to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to gather at the National Corvette Museum, giving all of the cities that they pass through a chance to see Corvettes from all generations as well as a glimpse at the Corvette lifestyle in action.

Other programs and events of note include the Delivery Program, where buyers can pick up their new Corvette at the Museum after getting tours of the GM Corvette Assembly Plant and the National Corvette Museum. Their family and friends can watch them as they depart “Corvette Boulevard,” making the trip down “Victory Lane” and across the finish line made from bricks salvaged from the Flint, Michigan Plant, where the first Corvettes were built.

Since the Corvette Museum opened in 1994, out of the love and devotion of Corvette owners, it has expanded in size from 47,000 square feet to 115,000 square feet in order to make room for even more displays and bigger events.

The Museum’s current project is the Motorsports Park where they will provide Corvette owners with a place to enjoy a myriad of driving activities. High Performance Driving Events (HPDE) will give enthusiasts a safe place to more fully experience the capability of their car and learn the skills that will help them on the track and the street.

The Motorsports Park will also be a place for teen driver safety classes and potentially for law enforcement training as well. The Corvette Racing team is already calling it their “home track” and plan to do testing there, allowing the general public and Corvette community to watch them do their work.

“This is a big honor for the Museum, and we pledge to do our best to live up to the standards of this prestigious recognition from Bloomington Gold,” said Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode.  The official induction ceremony will take place as part of the Bloomington Gold event, June 27-29, 2014 on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, IL.  The National Corvette Museum will be on-site offering Corvette Store merchandise and NCM Insurance quotes and information.  Learn more about their event online at