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Union Station Great Hall Restoration Underway

A worker works on the skylight at Union Station's Grand Hall.

While Riverside Investment and Development puts together its master plan for redeveloping Union Station, Amtrak is moving forward with its restoration of one of the transit hub's most notable features. Work is underway on a $22M restoration of Union Station's 92-year-old Grand Hall.

The project is expected to last a year and will focus on repairing water damage, installing new lighting, painting the Great Hall's walls in their original colors and restoring Union Station's skylight. To minimize disruption of people flowing through Union Station, designer Goettsch Partners and contractor Berglund Construction hit upon a novel idea. Instead of scaffolding, the restoration will be done using a suspended deck and swing stages, allowing people to move freely through the station below. A crane erected on Clinton Street will move materials through the building and above the Great Hall.

Painting and plaster work will be divided into phases but the bulk of the work will be done on the skylight, which has been altered throughout the decades in failed attempts to control leaking. The skylight's 2,052 panes of wire-embedded glass will be replaced, and an additional 858 transparent panes of high-efficiency glass will be installed five feet above the skylight. When the work is complete, natural light entering the Great Hall will increase by 50%.