By Sam Walker on August 16, 2012
In a brief statement issued Thursday, the National Park Service says the contractor has erected scaffolding inside the tower to begin preparing interior surfaces for a new coat of paint.
“Although the lighthouse structure itself remains closed to the general public, the Bodie Island Visitor Center and bookstore are open 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily,” said Cyndy Holda, public affairs specialist for the National Park Service Outer Banks Group.
The restoration was stopped in spring 2011 at the 156-foot tall beacon built in 1872 after significant new structural integrity issues were found in many of the main support beams under the balcony.The additional repairs needed were too costly to finish in the original restoration project.
Funding requests were approved to complete the restoration work this fiscal year, with a $1.89 million contract awarded to United Builders Group, LLC of New Bern.
The work will include restoring deteriorated metal, components on the lantern level, including support beams, masonry and railing, replacing galley cornice segments, painting interior and exterior masonry, replacing windows and glass on lantern level, repairing the oil house marble floor and roof and installing new windows, painting all newly installed metals and wood, installing fire suppression system and rehabilitating electrical power, plus installing stair strengtheners.
The new restoration project began in late March and is expected be completed in 2013.
Flooding during Hurricane Irene entered the lightkeepers building, which hosts the visitors center and book store.
The floors in the building were refinished, while descriptive exhibits on-loan indefinitely from the Outer Banks History Center replaced those damaged by the flood waters, which reached to the top of the baseboards, according to an on-site interpreter.
The electric beacon, visible from up to 18 miles away was extinguished in September 2009.
The priceless Fresnel lens was removed before renovations began and remains in a secure location away from the Bodie Island Light Station.