When the Washington Monument finally reopens in two years, visitors will access it through a new one-story glass portal.
Last week, the National Capital Planning Commission approved final designs for the forthcoming visitor screening center, which is being built to “improve security and visitor flow,” according to a NCPC release.
The facility will be about 30 feet wide, 27 feet deep, and 17 and a half feet tall—that’s large enough to hold 20 to 25 people at a time, according to the National Park Service, which submitted a preliminary proposal in 2014. The space will also have a restroom for staff, an office, and an additional door strictly for visitors’ comings and goings.
The center, complete with a double glazed glass exterior, will replace the current security center that was built as a temporary structure following the September 11 terror attacks. NPS says it needs to be replaced “to meet the long-term security and cultural resource management requirements at the monument.”
Though this new center will be permanent, it won’t be fully attached to the monument so that it can be moved if necessary.
And this, of course, isn’t the only enhancement taking place at the city’s tallest building. Billionaire businessman David M. Rubenstein agreed to donate funds to modernize the monument’s elevator, which has been plagued by issues since reopening in 2014.
The monument has been closed since August after the elevator’s compensating cable broke loose from the car, briefly trapping the NPS employee on board and causing 84 people to walk down the building’s steps. It will cost between $2 million and $3 million to correct mechanical, electrical, and computer issues. The monument is slated to reopen in 2019.