Friday, September 06, 2002

Freedom Center taking shape


Most work centers on supports

By Marilyn Bauer, mbauer@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] A 35-foot free-standing curved wall was being built Thursday
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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        The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's new building, going up at 50 West Freedom Way, has come a long way since the groundbreaking on June 17.

        Fifty workers on the job for less than three months have completed 2 percent of the total construction.

        The $110-million educational facility, scheduled to open in summer 2004, will feature three pavilions totaling 158,000 square feet, commemorating the historic efforts of the Underground Railroad and celebrating the heritage and ongoing struggle for freedom worldwide.

        Work on the site began June 10.

        Construction on the building has involved erecting the columns and shear walls that will support the floors and frames of the three buildings.

[photo] A giant crane is used on the site.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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        All 26 columns and three shear walls on the first floor in the three-story east building have been completed, as have most of the columns in the five-story central building.

        The enormous crane protruding from a well-like structure at the center of the site is nestled in the circular stairwell that will connect the main building's floors with a grand staircase and elevators.

        You can see about 60 percent of one side of a 35-foot-tall wall, which will wrap around the west building's egg-shaped theater.

        Much of the work that will occur over the next four months will be devoted to further development of the floor support system required before concrete can be poured.

       



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