Restoration continues at National Cathedral 2 years after earthq - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Restoration continues at National Cathedral 2 years after earthquake

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When chief stone mason Joe Alonso walked into Washington National Cathedral on August 23, 2011, he saw pieces of stone on the floor.

"I call them little debris fields,” he says. “Little bits of mortar, little bits of stone."

He says the ceiling literally shook that during a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. The ceiling was structurally sound, but netting was strung as a precaution, so if any debris continued to fall, people down below would not be impacted.

Now, two years after the quake happened, cathedral engineers are beginning to repair the ceiling.

Andrew Hullinger is senior director for finance and administration. He says the total cost of repairs will hit $26 million. So far, they have raised $10 million.

"Do I wish that we had raised it all by now? Sure. But the history of this cathedral informs us on being patient,” says Hullinger. “This cathedral was built over 83 years and it was built with gifts large and small.”

This phase is expected to take about 18 months. The plywood platforms hang 75 feet in the air, so services and other events should not be disrupted. Cathedral employees say they feel blessed to be able to get the project started.

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