The view from Union Terminal’s driveway is certainly different today than it was a year ago. Cranes and lifts are scattered across the front, wings and rear of the building. Limestone and brick have been removed from points on all sides of the building, revealing the structural steel underneath. The windows on the face of the building have been removed for cleaning and repair. Historic limestone and granite have been removed from the fountain and plaza as crews prepare to waterproof the space below it.
Crews inside the building are just as busy as those visible outside. Outdated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are being removed and replaced throughout the building and three different mechanical rooms are being cleared out and prepped for new equipment that will make the building more efficient to operate. Here’s a look at some of the other work going on in plain sight and behind the scenes this month.
- The removal of all limestone, granite and fountain finishes from the fountain and plaza, so critical to the historic fabric of the building, is nearly complete. Once the remaining concrete is removed, crews will begin the process of waterproofing those areas below the fountain to prevent future water damage that could impact the Duke Energy Children’s Museum and Dalton Street tunnel below. Once all work is complete, the fountain and plaza area will be rebuilt and restored in a precise manner.
- A crane will continue removing limestone blocks from the pillars supporting the iconic clock on the front of the building. Once the limestone is removed, the steel underneath will be cleaned and treated while the limestone is repaired.
- The north drum wall in the rear of the building just below the building’s half dome, has been taken down, brick-by-brick, to address bulging bricks and rusting steel. The drum wall also serves as the exterior wall behind the wall where the Rotunda’s iconic mosaic murals hang. After cleaning and treating the steel, crews are beginning the process of rebuilding that wall, replacing cracking terracotta tile with concrete block and adding expansion joints to prevent future damage from fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Much of the original exterior brick was salvaged and will be used to rebuild the exterior of the drum wall.
- Inside Union Terminal, portion of the west wall of the Duke Energy Children’s Museum is being moved slightly to enlarge the hallway near the entrance to the special exhibition gallery and the lower level of the Museum of Natural History & Science. The expanded hallway is part of plans to enhance the museum experience and to create new entrances to the Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati History Museum. This work will be completed during evening hours to avoid disrupting guest activity.
Number to know: Five – Five new boilers (two steam boilers and three hot water boilers) will be installed in the coming months to supply heat to Union Terminal’s 500,000+ square feet of interior space. Two outdated steam boilers and two hot water boilers will be replaced as part of the upgrade.
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