NEW YORK and NEW JERSEY – The National Park Service (NPS) announced today that Perini Management Services, Inc. was awarded a $34.9 million task order to repair damaged infrastructure on Ellis Island, part of Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York Harbor. The project is scheduled to begin mid-May.
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York Harbor on October 29, 2012, Ellis Island was inundated by water. While no water entered the first floor of the Main Immigration Building, the storm surge destroyed electrical, communications, and heating and cooling systems that support all inhabited buildings on the island. This project will replace mechanical and electrical systems that were destroyed. Major components of the island's infrastructure will be relocated to an elevation above FEMA projected future flood levels.
"Although there is still a lot to be done before our recovery from Hurricane Sandy is complete, getting this contract awarded and under way is a big step toward that goal. Recent repairs have also made it possible to open many of our upper level exhibition areas that have been closed to the public since the storm" said John Piltzecker, Superintendent of Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.
Ellis Island was partially reopened in October 2013. Temporary heating and cooling will be operational throughout the project allowing Ellis Island Immigration Museum to remain open to visitors throughout the duration of the project, which is expected to be complete in December 2015. Areas the public have been able to visit since the reopening have included the grounds and the first floor, including the "Journeys: The Peopling of America -- 1540s-1890" exhibit and The American Family Immigration History Center, where visitors can use the center's database to locate the ship's manifest for family members who came through Ellis Island. The Registry Room (Great Hall) on the second floor has also been open for visitors who are able to climb stairs.
Recently, the NPS reopened second and third floor exhibits that include dioramas of Ellis Island through time, Ellis Island's peak immigration years, the immigrant experience, and a restored dormitory room. A new exhibit on recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, titled "In the Path of a Storm" is also be featured. The collection of objects and artifacts normally on display will continue to remain in storage until the new climate control system is installed.
The repair of one of the building's elevators, made possible through a generous donation by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) and completed by LCD Elevators, Inc. made it possible to bring equipment up to the upper levels allowing needed repairs to be made. The elevator repair also makes it possible for visitors who cannot climb stairs to access the upper levels, including the Great Hall.
Did You Know?
Ellis Island was added as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965 by Presidential Proclamation. The main building was re-opened in September 1990 as the national museum of immigration after what was considered at the time, the largest restoration project in American history.