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Union Station Proactively Launches Important 12-Month Project To Preserve, Protect and Maintain Historic Exterior Surfaces

June 21, 2017

Union Station Proactively Launches Important 12-Month Project To Preserve, Protect and Maintain Historic Exterior Surfaces

$1.6 Million Project Accelerates 25-Year Plan and Ensures Ongoing Integrity and Beauty of Beloved National Landmark

Kansas City (June 20, 2017)  High atop Union Station’s historic North Waiting Room and extending over 45 feet above the roofline, an expert team of contractors can be seen rigged to scaffolding and beginning a delicate 12-month project to clean, restore and protect nearly every inch of historic limestone surface, mortar line and caulked joint around the massive Station.  In total, more than 15,600 hours will be applied to this proactive project.

“As our Board of Directors and Leadership Team continues to look around the corner for what’s next at Union Station, of critical importance is to stay ahead of the curve in maintaining the beauty, integrity and longevity of our physical structures,” Bob Regnier, Union Station Board Chairman, said.  “This is one of the many advantages of ongoing financial success at the Station . . . being able to proactively put investment where it matters most.  And in this case, maintaining and protecting our 103-year-old treasure is a priority of the highest order.”

The total effort is divided into three phases expected to be complete in Spring of 2018.  Each phase is tied to specific exterior areas of the original Station and is best described as periodic and routine maintenance, but on a very large scale.

Specifically, the detailed, specialized and technical work includes:

- Cleaning nearly 20 years of environmental accumulation and discoloration from the historic limestone exterior surfaces

- Repairing mortar joints (tuck point) between limestone blocks to maintain their aesthetic and structural integrity

- Caulking and sealing all other exterior joints to prevent water intrusion and deterioration

Heading up the team of experts is Roofing Solutions, Inc., Structural Engineering Associates, and Mid-Continental Restoration Company, all exceptionally qualified regional leaders and intimately familiar with Union Station.  Mid-Continental Restoration has a 60-year history of similar and successful preservation work, including the North Dakota State Capitol, Arkansas State Capitol, as well as interior and exterior masonry cleaning and repair on Union Station in 1997 during the original restoration and reopening project.

“It’s always a privilege to be invited to restore and preserve pieces of history,” Matt Deloney, Vice President, Mid-Continental Restoration, said.  “And when the structure - like Union Station - is such a big part of our collective community memory, the significance is amplified.  What our crews are doing is as much of an art as it is science.  In fact, most of this work on the Station is done by hand with hand tools and small power specialty tools.  It’s delicate, precise and essential to maintaining and extending the life of these exposed surfaces.  We know 100 years from now, people will look back and appreciate the attitude of obligation Union Station has today to preserve history to be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Structural Engineering Associates has been providing structural engineering services for almost 25 years at Union Station including work leading up to and including the major renovation in the 1990s.

In total, and in addition to the enormous human effort, this project will use:

  • The equivalent of 1,200 tubes of caulking
    • The typical home requires 10 tubes to re-caulk windows, doors and seams
  • Over 1,000 bags of mortar
    • The typical brick or stone home requires 10 bags to tuck point
  • 1,100 gallons of Enviro Klean ReKlaim Limestone Cleaner (all applied by hand)
  • 1,300 gallons of Natural Stone Treatment Water Repellant to protect stone surfaces and slow future biological growth and staining.
  • 9,500 lineal feet of lead joint T-Cap installed to protect the skyward facing stone joints from water infiltration.

“The total investment we’re making to complete this important preservation work is $1.6 million and will be funded through a combination of sources including our Union Station Preservation Fund (accumulated from a $1.00 charge added to each Science City and Touring Exhibition ticket sold), operating income and the launching of a direct fundraising effort,” George Guastello, Union Station president and CEO, said.  “As our massive $8 million dollar Capital Expansion project heads quickly toward completion, we’re stepping up with this next significant preservation project and the community reaction to these investments has been, and continues to be, overwhelming and positive.  Union Station is Kansas City’s historic home and will always hold that place of honor, as long as we collectively do what it takes to preserve and maintain it.”

Union Station is a 501 (c)3 non-profit and receives no ongoing tax or public funding to support capital and operations. 

“We rely on earned income and donations to preserve Union Station,” Guastello, said.  “We invite the entire community to do their part in preserving this jewel by donating online at unionstation.org.”

No disruption to normal Union Station business is anticipated during the year-long preservation work.

“The 12-person crew is scheduled to work Monday – Thursday, 7:00 am – 5:30 pm,” Jerry Baber, Union Station executive vice president and COO, said.  “At no time will visitor access nor experience be diminished.  Besides the visual spectacle of the professionals working up high preserving our exterior, our award-winning attractions and beautiful event spaces will remain open and the new guest conveniences of our Western Expansion projects will be fully felt.” 

By combining several preservation projects – including elements from the Union Station 25-year maintenance plan – into one, additional efficiencies are being realized.

“Being good stewards of Union Station is all inclusive,” Regnier, said.  “Combining several preservation projects at once – even slightly ahead of schedule – is resulting in real savings which allows us to maximize the impact of our investment dollars.  And, of course, support from the community is always invited and appreciated.  Individuals or businesses interested in being part of preserving our historic monument should connect with Christy Nitsche for a complete list of opportunities.  Caring for Kansas City’s historic home is indeed a proud and welcomed obligation we each have.”

Frequent updates regarding the progress of this exterior preservation project will be available online at unionstation.org. 

Christy Nitsche – Director of Advancement & Community Engagement – can be reached at (816) 460-2208 or cnitsche@unionstation.org.

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Union Station Kansas City -- a 501(c)3 non-profit organization -- is a 103-year-old historical landmark and celebrated civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization -- dedicated to science education, celebration of community and preservation of history -- is home to Kansas City’s internationally-awarded Science City; the new Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium; the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre; the popular Model Railroad Experience; H&R Block City Stage featuring live theater, and a selection of unique shops and restaurants. Union Station is also home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses, and regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Awarded “Top Banquet Facilities in KC” by KC Business Journal, the facility regularly hosts community events and private celebrations of all sizes. Visit www.unionstation.org for details. Also, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


Union Station Contact: Michael Tritt C: 913.219.6890 MTritt@UnionStation.org
Media Contact: Nancy Besa C: 816.674.4775 Nancy@BesaPR.com