Washington Monument still closed, but there’s already a big change

WASHINGTON — Something that’s stood on the National Mall for about 17 years has been torn down. But officials said it’s going to be replaced by something much nicer.

A security screening center for visitors attached to one side of the Washington Monument was demolished last week.

“The building was constructed in 2001 and never intended to be more than temporary,” said Mike Litterst, with the National Park Service.

In its place, a permanent structure made of glass and steel will be built.

“It will offer full ballistic and blast protection, and … queuing space for up to 20 visitors at a time,” Litterst said.

Continuing problems with the monument’s elevator system forced the Park Service to close the monument in August 2016. Work to overhaul the elevator hasn’t started yet, but the monument’s still on schedule to reopen in the spring of 2019.

The Park Service is using $7.7 million from its FY17 budget to build the new screening center, and philanthropist David Rubinstein donated $3 million to pay for the elevator upgrades.

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