Meetings to set out plan for memorial
The USS Arizona Memorial's 19,325-square-foot visitor center has sunk as much as 30 inches and flooded up to 8 inches in some areas since it was opened by the National Park Center in 1980.
"As a result, the building has a shelf life we're estimating anywhere from six to eight years," Pearl Harbor historian Daniel Martinez told Gov. Linda Lingle and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano last September when they inspected the aging facility.
They were at the center, which sits on 11 acres of Navy land dredged from Pearl Harbor at the mouth of Halawa Stream, to call attention to a national campaign to raise $27 million by 2008.
As part of the planning phase, the National Park Service will hold two public open houses beginning at 6:30 tonight to present possible alternatives. The format will include a brief presentation of the project followed by a question-and-answer session. The second session will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday. Both sessions will be at the visitor center's theater.
Construction is expected to cost about $27 million, and an additional $7 million is needed for expenses and endowments.
The visitor center has been lifted four times. That has caused cracks in the concrete walls, which exposed steel reinforcing bars to moisture. It sits shoreside of the memorial that straddles the sunken battleship, where 1,177 sailors are still interred inside the sunken hull damaged during the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack.
Under the current proposal, the Navy would build the new 27,400-square-foot visitor center, which will include two 150-seat educational theaters, a concession area, ticket office, security room, restrooms and administration and support areas.