New timeline for fixing Indiana War Memorial downtown

(WTHR Drone Cam 13)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — There are continued delays to roof repairs at the Indiana War Memorial downtown.

The beautiful building has been covered by scaffolding for more than a year.

So why is it taking so long?​ WTHR asked a few questions and got the new timeline for a fix.

It's one of downtown Indy's most iconic structures, but it remains shrouded because fixing a leaky roof has taken longer than expected.

"Has it been over a year?" asked Tiffany Coffey of Indianapolis. "It's been a long time."

"Hopefully they can get the construction going a little quicker because it seems like something that a lot of people enjoy," added Zach Burton, Indianapolis.

Repairs started last summer on the granite and copper pyramid-like roof structure that hadn't been touched since the 70s. Work was supposed to be done by April 1. But that stretched to July 23, then Oct. 15 and now, Dec. 1 is the target completion date.

"When you're dealing with old buildings, patience is the name of the game," said J. Stewart Goodwin, Executive Director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission. "The last thing we want to do is to have this all go away, scaffolding go away and we don't have all the leaks fixed."

Bad weather caused some of the delays.

Plus, just like many home construction projects, crews found more problems as they worked, including large chunks of loose limestone from lightning strikes and more spots for water to leak and potentially damage the treasures inside.

The Shrine Room is right below the roof, at the top of the memorial, and what they wanted to protect most.

It's a stunning display honoring military service.

"Obviously that's why the building was built. It's the most important part of our structure," Goodwin explained.

These delays are costly. The project's original $2.2 million dollar price tag has grown to $2.9 million. That's taxpayer money from the War Memorial Commission's budget.

"We are judicious with taxpayer dollars," Goodwin said. "The most important thing about this though, is to do it right and I feel very secure that we've done that."

Goodwin said every inch of the memorial has now been inspected, making sure it's water-tight to safely welcome visitors and honor Hoosier heroes.

The War Memorial Shrine Room and the museum in the memorial's basement are still open during construction.

It's free to visit.

After the roof is fixed, Goodwin said the next project is bringing scaffolding inside so they can touch up the ceiling in the Shrine Room. If all goes according to plan, that will not happen for another year or so.

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