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Design team helping keep Lady Liberty's visitors safe.

When the Statue of Liberty re-opera to the public this fall, visitors will experience it at its best since its dedication in 1886.

A multi-disciplinary design team led by Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC (M+Sa) is nearing completion on life and safety enhancements to the Statue, which closed in October 2011 for the upgrade.

These improvements will allow the international symbol of freedom to continue its legacy of welcoming visitors from all over the world.

In 2009, M+Sa, then known as Farewell Mills Gatsch, consulted to the National Parks Service on a project to make the stair rails and protective glass on the stairs leading to the crown as code compliant as possible.

The current life and safety upgrade project is the continuation of the process to improve visitor safely and accessibility.

Hugh Duffy, project manager at the NPS, said, "The Statue of Liberty has been welcoming people as they enter New York Harbor since 1886, and she continues to evoke the spirit of freedom, which is the essence of our great nation. By enhancing safety and accessibility to this National Monument, we continue to celebrate America's most lasting legacy."

The Statue is also a World Heritage Site, the only one in New York State.

"We've been working for four years to help preserve and upgrade this great icon of freedom, and we're proud to be a part of its history. It is an incredible honor to work with the National Park Service to ensure that this Monument will continue to inspire people all over the world," said Michael Mills, FA1A, partner, M+Sa.

M+Sa, a full-service design firm that specializes in the preservation of historic structures, said the life and safety enhancements will increase visitor safety and fire protection.

New stairs and a new elevator make it easier for visitors to ascend to the pedestal's observation level, which will also be wheelchair accessible.

From the top level of the pedestal, visitors can look up and view the double helix stairs leading through the interior of the Statue to the crown as well as the support system designed by renowned French architect and engineer Gustave Eiffel.

The project also focuses on accessibility and visitor comfort. A new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system creates a more comfortable environment as visitors ascend or descend the stairs. To design these new features within the pedestal's limited space, M+Sa used three-dimensional building Information modeling (BIM) and laser scanning technology.

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* Designed by French sculptor Frederic Bartholdi, the Statue of Liberty was given to the United States on October 28, 1886.

* The first public elevator was installed in 1906 to provide access to the top of the pedestal.

* In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt transferred the Statue of Liberty National Monument to the care of the National Park Service.

* The first major rehabilitation was completed on the statue, pedestal, base, and walkways in 1938.

* The monument received additional work between 1984 and 1986, notably replacing the torch and strengthening the outstretched arm.

* April 2009 marked the beginning of further improvements to the double helix stairs leading up to the crown, which reopened on July 4, 2009 for the first time since the terrorist attacks of September 11.
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Comment:Design team helping keep Lady Liberty's visitors safe.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 26, 2012
Words:538
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