Construction is almost complete on the two ceremonial entrance gate signs located near the Maryland Route, or MD 715 gate at APG North (Aberdeen) and the MD 24 gate at APG South (Edgewood).
APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford tasked the Garrison’s Directorate of Public Works Engineering Division with creating the new signs, which stand 24 feet high and 36 feet wide, and weigh about 450,000 pounds.
DPW Lead Engineer and Project Manager Ray McDermott said the previous APG signs, located near the visitor’s center, were smaller and not as eye-catching.
“The original signs that we have, no one sees,” McDermott said. “We were tasked to come up with a better sign.”
The sign’s centerpiece reads, “Welcome to Aberdeen Proving Ground” in raised gold letters with a black background and is made out of aluminum. The sign also has four rectangular logos made of polished bronze representing the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Materiel Command, U.S. Army Installation Management Command and APG.
“The purpose of the signs is to identify that you are on an Army installation and that you are welcome here,” McDermott said.
The physical construction of the signs started late January of last year. DPW Contracting Officer’s Representatives Bill Streaker and Bill Kunkel oversaw the construction project.
McDermott, who designed the signs, said they are unique to APG. The signs were created to replicate the architectural theme of three historic APG buildings affectionately known as “The Stones” on APG North. Built in 1941, The Stones are the former headquarters of the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and Schools. Since 2010, these well-known historic facilities have served as the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s headquarters.
To recreate the look of The Stones, the signs were constructed with durable concrete masonry units with a natural stone veneer. The custom-made capitals, or top pieces of the sign’s pillars, were created out of natural solid stone and weigh 8,000 pounds each. The pillars are doweled or pinned with a steel reinforcing rod into a concrete footer located under the ground.
“That’s so the sign doesn’t sink into the ground, or become unlevel,” Streaker said.
To complete the project, lighting will be installed on both signs this spring.