Sears Tower "Ledge" To Open Thursday

(WGN-AM)- For those who can stand heights, the new "Ledge" that will allow visitors to the Sears Tower Skydeck to look straight down 1,353 feet opens Thursday at 9 a.m.

The Ledge--actually enclosed glass boxes--extends about 4.3 feet from the building, according to the Skydeck Web site, and is touted to provide "never-before-seen" views of Chicago.

First opened in 1974, the Skydeck attracts about 1.3 million people annually. (And its location, the Sears Tower, is still the Sears Tower. Its name won't be changed to Willis Tower until sometime later this summer, according to a building spokesman.)

The 1,500-pound glass panels used in the Ledge's construction on the 103rd floor of the skyscraper were installed by MTH Industries, the same architectural metal contractor that installed the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park, according to the Web site.

The ledge was designed by Sears Tower's original architects, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP. Each box is made of three layers of half-inch thick glass, according to the Web site.

"The Skydeck has evolved to challenge our visitors curiosity," said Randy Stancik, Skydeck general manager. "You only need to see the forehead prints on the windows to know that visitors are constantly trying to catch a glimpse below." Visitors will be able to see 1,353 feet straight down.

Admission to the Skydeck, including the Ledge, is $14.95.

(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this story)

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