Visitor Center Update May 13, 2009

The Raising of a New Visitor Center!

After years of planning and fundraising, construction is now well underway for the new $58 million museum and visitor center that will replace the current USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center shore side facility.

Construction will be done in phases over the next two years enabling the center and tours to the USS Arizona Memorial to remain open throughout the process. The official dedication of the new visitor center and museum is scheduled for December 7, 2010.

In the meantime, we invite you to follow along with us through this historic transformation. We will be posting bi-monthly updates and photos of our progress along with valuable visitor tips. Be sure to check back often!

First, a little history…

The USS Arizona Memorial, which spans the sunken ship, was built in 1962 with privately raised funds and a Congressional appropriation.

Initially, visitors to the USS Arizona Memorial waited in the hot sun before boarding Navy boats to the USS Arizona Memorial. To better accommodate and provide a more interpretive experience, the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center was built and dedicated in 1980. Operations were turned over by the U.S. Navy to the National Park Service.

The USS Arizona Memorial just a short time before its official opening on Memorial Day, 1962

Originally designed for 2,000 daily visitors, the visitor center today receives over 4,500 visitors each day, and nearly 1.5 million visitors each year. Larger than expected visitation, structural deterioration, lack of space for the growing collection of rare museum artifacts, as well as insufficient educational and curatorial space have all contributed to the urgent need to replace and expand the current museum and visitor center.

What’s behind those black construction barriers”...

A whole lot of construction! For Phase-I of our construction process, we’ve blocked off and cleared the north area of the site that served as a parking lot and housed the original Ferry Landing Building.

 
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Ferry Landing Building (Before)
Now you see it...
 
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Ferry Landing Building (after)

Now you don't!

 

In just four hours, construction crews removed the original Ferry Landing Building that served as a visitor loading area before the current USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center was built.

All in a days work...

 
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North end parking lot (before)
 
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North end parking lot is now clear and ready for construction!
 

For the next 12 months, we will be working in this area on the construction of the new bookstore, administration offices, education building and the new main entrance.

Don’t worry! Our current museum, bookstore, main entrance, and the USS Arizona Memorial documentary film and boat tour will remain open and accessible!

 
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700,000 pounds, or 325 tons is
what each of our piles can support.  Crews recently tested the strength of our piles by “piling up” 325 tons on a single pile.

A total of 187 piles will be installed to serve as the foundation for ten buildings at the new visitor center. Each pile is 16.5 inches in diameter and 125 feet to 200 feet in length. Pile driving for the first 102 piles will continue through the end of May, with the remaining 73 piles installed in early 2010. We apologize for the residual noise from our pile driving, but will work to contain the activity within normal business hours!

Check back in two weeks for more updates!!!

Last updated: March 1, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

National Park Service
WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument
1845 Wasp Blvd. Bldg. 176

Honolulu, HI 96818

Phone:

(808) 422-3399

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