A spectacular stained glass ceiling in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport's Terminal 3 is now illuminated, after nearly 20 years of darkness. More than 100 people gathered for a re-lighting ceremony on Wednesday October 20 at 9 a.m. As part of the event, Sky Harbor also celebrated the opening of the airport's brand new escalators.
The stained glass ceiling was installed when Terminal 3 opened in 1979. The bulbs that illuminated this beautiful work of art lasted for just a few years. Sky Harbor officials could not justify the expense of building scaffolding every time the bulbs needed to be changed, so the ceiling remained dark.
This year, scaffolding had to be built to facilitate the replacement of the escalators in Terminal 3. Workers at the airport used that scaffolding to access the 30-foot-high ceiling, and replace the old bulbs with new long-lasting lamps. Because lighting technology has improved so much in the past 20 years, the bulbs which now illuminate the stained glass in the Terminal 3 ceiling will last for 10 years without needing to be changed.
Ken Toney, the original stained glass artist and designer, was present at the event, as the crowd counted down to the re-lighting. As soon as the lights came on, the contractors involved in the escalator replacement took a symbolic ride up one of the 90-foot-long escalators.