(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
The Washington National Cathedral will reopen on Nov. 12, officials announced Tuesday. Restoration costs for the earthquake-damaged landmark have exceeded tens of millions of dollars, according to authorities.
“The Cathedral hopes to continue an aggressive fundraising effort to raise at least $25 million to off set the costs of the early restoration work and to help support its operations through the end of 2012,” officials said in a statement.
A national landmark, the 30-story central tower suffered significant damage during the 5.9 magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23, 2011. The cathedral also experienced damages from Hurricane Irene.
Workers have been reinforcing the 550-ton capacity construction cane with steel beams, since the Cathedral’s closing.
Officials had hoped to reopen for 9/11 anniversary services but the collapse of a massive crane being slowed construction, according to ABC News.
Three of the four spires of the gothic cathedral’s central tower were damaged in the quake’s wrath. In addition to the spires, there were major cracks in the building’s structure and the intricate stonework was shaken loose. Small pieces of mortar fell from the 100-foot high ceiling, as a result of the earthquake.
"The short-term priorities are around stabilizing the building, reopening the cathedral and continuing its operations and mission," officials said. "The overall restoration of the cathedral is expected to take numerous years."
The cathedral confirmed that the restoration work, which cost tens of millions, would take years to complete. According to the statement, officials are attempting to raise at least $25 million to pay for both construction and operating costs through 2012.
"Reopening is only the first step down a long path toward restoring the cathedral to its previous state," said the Rev. John Bryson Chane, interim dean of the cathedral and the Episcopal bishop of Washington. "We will reach the end of that path only through the support of this community and people across the nation."
The cathedral was completed in 1990 after 83 years of work. It is a solid masonry structure made of limestone blocks.