The giant oxidized steel star that has stood in front of NATO's headquarters in Brussels for decades is being moved to the alliance's new home across the street.

NATO officials say preparations began Wednesday to transport the 7-meter (23-foot) tall metal sculpture.

Construction of NATO's new headquarters, which began in 2010, is scheduled to be completed this year. Alliance personnel and delegations from NATO's 28 member countries will start to move to the new complex in early 2017.

To minimize disruptions, the star will be moved across Boulevard Leopold III at around midnight Friday.

The sculpture was designed by Belgian architect Raymond Huyberechts and has stood in front of the headquarters since August 1971. Inspired by the NATO emblem, it symbolizes the bond between Europe and North America.