The Carillon at North Idaho College has resounded across the campus for more than 20 years, serving as a symbol of the collegiate atmosphere and warning students of the hour as they rushed to class.
With the right cloud cover, the chimes have been reportedly heard as far away as Harrison.
But a lightning strike rendered the NIC system of computerized bells inoperative in the summer of 2007 and the college's facilities department was not able to find someone with the unique qualifications to repair it. Until now.
"Everyone missed hearing the carillon and were so excited to hear the familiar chimes again," said NIC Facilities Operations Assistant Director Garry Stark.
The carillon was originally purchased in 1985 in honor of Loretta Dunnigan, a 28-year employee of the college who served for 23 years as the chairperson of the college's business division.
The carillon was purchased and installed in Molstead Library following an 18-month community fund-raiser that netted more than $18,000. It includes six speakers mounted on the library building as well as symphonic bells (a series of metal rods that are struck by hammers) that can be played using computerized tapes or played with a keyboard, housed in Molstead Library's special collections room.
While repairing the system presented many challenges over the past several years, the college's facilities department was recently connected with a company that could do the repair through an employee of the college.
"I had an acquaintance that fixed old juke boxes and pinball machines and I thought he might be able to troubleshoot and repair the carillon for us," said NIC Molstead Library Technology Coordinator Andy Finney. "In the end, Larry Noska was able to fix the carillon for us for about $1,000 versus more than $11,000 for a new system."
Finney said the carillon can be programmed to play almost any tune, but the most popular over the years have included "Getting to Know You" on the first day of classes to "Jingle Bells" during the holidays
The chimes can be heard ringing across campus on the quarter hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Information: NIC Facilities Operations Assistant Director Garry Stark, (208) 769-7769