If you walk through Union Station’s Sprint Festival Plaza (formerly known as the North Waiting room) during the week, you’ll see a dozen dangling figures working meticulously on the ceiling. If you look even closer, you can see the limestone architecture coming back to life.
As its two-year Western expansion project draws to a close, Union Station is now jumping into a new preservation and restoration effort. Headed by Roofing Solutions, Inc., Structural Engineering Associates, and Mid-Continental Restoration Company, the $1.6 million project will take all of 15,600 hours spread out over the next year.
Workers will be cleaning off 20 years of environmental accumulation and discoloration, repairing mortar joints and caulking and sealing all other exterior joints to prevent water intrusion and deterioration, according to a news release.
“What our crews are doing is as much of an art as it is science,” Mid-Continental Restoration Vice President Matt Deloney said. “In fact, most of this work on the Station is done by hand with hand tools and small power specialty tools. It’s delicate, precise and essential to maintaining and extending the life of these exposed surfaces.”
Despite the crew’s all-day work schedule from Monday through Thursday, no Union Station events or experiences will be interrupted.
The company will not receive any taxpayer money for the preservation project, but encourages the public to donate what they can.
“The total investment we’re making to complete this important preservation work is $1.6 million and will be funded through a combination of sources including our Union Station Preservation Fund (accumulated from a $1.00 charge added to each Science City and Touring Exhibition ticket sold), operating income and the launching of a direct fundraising effort,” Union Station president and CEO George Guastello said.
The station has already drawn $1 million from the preservation fund and operating income. Chief Marketing Director Michael Tritt says they are hoping to raise the rest through the station’s many fans and supporters.
Lexi Churchill is an intern for KCUR 89.3.