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December 2017 construction update

As we continue a very thorough restoration of Union Terminal, fitting its designation as a National Historic Landmark, experts from across the country are being tapped to ensure every aspect is restored with meticulous detail. Canvas murals painted by Pierre Bourdelle are currently being packaged in preparation for shipment to New York to be restored by art conservators. Historic light fixtures are in the process of being repaired by specialists in Virginia. Mechanical engineers from Washington, DC have been involved since the earliest planning and design phases of the project. And preservation architects from New York City are directing the cleaning and repair of Winold Reiss’s iconic Rotunda mosaics.

Below is a look at how this team of national professionals and local experts are working together this month to restore Union Terminal.

Upcoming Work

  1. The iconic fountain in front of Union Terminal is again taking shape as crews continue the concrete pour to complete its structure. The lower bowl, sides and planters have all been poured and forms are being constructed to create the scalloped cascade features. Following the concrete pours, waterproofing materials will be applied to the fountain before terrazzo and finishes are applied in the coming months.
  2. Scaffolding crisscrosses the walls of the Rotunda as crews clean the tile mosaics that adorn the north and south walls. The glass tiles of the mosaics are being cleaned with a mild detergent and the painted stucco of the sky and foreground is being patched and repaired as needed over the next several months.
  3. As the restoration of the historic Losantiville Dining Room progresses, preparations are being made for the installation of new terrazzo floors that will fill the space where the serpentine lunch counter and buffet line once stood. Crews are laying down a sand bed and placing metal dividers before new black, white and red terrazzo to match the surrounding floor is poured.
  4. An existing piece of steel was removed from the lower level to accommodate an entrance to new, expanded restrooms. Prior to the steel beam removal, new support and bracing beams were installed. The original piece of steel that was removed now rests in Cincinnati Museum Center’s collections.
  5. Scaffolding is now being installed to accommodate masonry work on Union Terminal’s west wall that extends over and sits next to the active railroad tracks in the rear of the building. Crews are addressing the structural integrity of the wall, which was built in the late 1970s to patch the hole after the concourse was demolished. The rear of the OMNIMAX® Theater now sits just inside the west wall.
  6. Structural engineers are repairing steel on the mezzanine level below Union Terminal’s front plaza. For decades, water has penetrated through expansion joints on the north and south side of the driveway and plaza, allowing water to reach the steel below. The Duke Energy Children’s Museum remains closed through spring 2018 to accommodate construction activity on the mezzanine level above.

Number to Know: 53,300 – Crews are using a mild, non-abrasive detergent to clean over 53,300 terracotta tiles on the walls of the ramps that form the Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati History Museum is underway. For decades these tiles were exposed to the elements as the ramps were open on the ends to allow vehicle traffic to enter and exit Union Terminal.

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