CINCINNATI – After a weeklong full building closure for significant construction activity, portions of Union Terminal, including the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, have reopened. The Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati History Museum and the OMNIMAX® Theater will remain closed through the duration of the building restoration.
The recent building closure was the result of a full electrical upgrade to the main building electrical switchboards. The electrical work required all primary building power be shut down to allow crews to replace aging electrical panels with new, custom-built boards measuring 45 feet long, 9 feet tall and over 4 feet deep. The new switchboards carry 480 volts and a total of 8000 amps, more than 40 times the amperage found in a typical household’s electrical panel.
The electrical upgrade is a critical step in the restoration of Union Terminal as it provides for greater control over electrical systems, including heating and air conditioning, and is more efficient, reducing utility costs and making the building cheaper to operate.
“This is a critical milestone in the restoration of Union Terminal and sets the stage for the work that follows,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Updating the building’s electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems is critical to bringing the building’s capabilities into the 21st century and making it more efficient, and we took a big step forward with the completion of the electrical upgrade.”
Elsewhere in the project, preservation architects and masons are cleaning the limestone on Union Terminal’s exterior, using a chemical compound to penetrate and remove biological growth that has damaged the stone and caused black streaking. Joints between limestone blocks on the building’s façade are being cleaned to remove caulking used over the past 40 years to patch joints. The caulking will be replaced with mortar matching that used during the building’s construction in the early 1930s. Windows and historic metalwork throughout the building will be repaired or restored. In the spring of 2017 the fountain and plaza area will be carefully removed in order to waterproof the space below, which serves as the roof to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum. The fountain and plaza will be restored before the completion of the project.
Inside, work continues on preserving historic spaces like the Losantiville Dining Room and Newsreel Theater. The Rotunda and the iconic mosaics will be cleaned. Some changes will also be made to museum layouts and floorplans to improve guest flow and experience. The updated electrical and mechanical systems will also prime additional spaces for future use and development.
The $212.7 million full restoration of Union Terminal is scheduled to be completed in late fall 2018. For project updates and more information visit www.myunionterminal.com.