- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2001

The Pentagon's latest mission: "fannies in chairs."
Officials involved in rebuilding the Pentagon say they will have Defense Department workers back in newly reconstructed offices by September 11, 2002.
"It's a great challenge," said David Rosner, project manager with John J. Kirlin Inc., a mechanical firm contracted to work on the site. "The demolition is not yet complete, but everyone is pitching in and excited. We will make it. We have to."
The charred chasm at the Pentagon has widened since the September 11 attacks, as rescue and recovery have turned to demolition and reconstruction.
Bulldozers hum as men in white hazard suits continue clearing debris, demolishing unstable structures and testing for noxious fumes.
The attacks have not delayed the $1.2 billion, 20-year plan to renovate the Pentagon that began in 1993 and will be complete in 2012, officials said. Instead, they have engendered an urgent sense of purpose with a $700 million plus price tag: Rebuild our hurt building as fast as possible.
"We're operating at full speed," said Brett Eaton, a Pentagon Reconstruction Office spokesman. "We will have people working in their offices on September 11, 2002, while we work on finishing the outside."
So far, construction crews have removed more than 10,000 tons of debris. They have flattened a 100-yard-wide section of the building to be rebuilt. They have cleared water drains, and restored electricity to some parts of the building near the crash site and lesser damaged areas to allow some employees to return. The crews are trying to salvage as much of the building's contents as possible, and sometimes the intense security slows progress.
The project is unusual even for a company accustomed to dealing with disasters.
"It makes you realize we have war on the home front," said Frank Headen of First Restoration Services, a firm that specializes in natural disaster cleanup.
"This is ground zero, where a lot of people died. It makes you look at it with a far different attitude."
The massive project is too large for one contractor alone. So far, there are seven major contractors and countless subcontractors performing services that range from electrical to plumbing to debris removal.
One contractor is AMEC, a global engineering and construction firm based in Britain, that is rebuilding the shell of the damaged building.
Its crews had nearly finished a major renovation on the section of the 58-year-old Pentagon known as Wedge One when it was demolished in the attack. About 3,600 of 4,500 employees were scheduled to return to work in that section that day. Of those, 125 died.
"The job was 99 percent complete and we were in the process of moving people back into the building when the jet crashed into the building," said AMEC vice president Lee Benish.
Another contractor, Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Colorado, is to rebuild the interior of the building. Dozens of companies, such as First Restoration Services, have smaller roles.
Reconstruction officials said they are including the most updated engineering measures in the overall renovation, such as an advanced sprinkler system, interlocking steel-beam supports and blast-resistant windows they say saved hundreds of lives. Details of modifications will not be available until an upcoming Army Corps of Engineers study is released, officials said.
"We're collecting comments from everyone who witnessed the crash," said Mr. Eaton. "Obviously, we want to make it a stronger, safer Pentagon to every extent possible."
This article is based in part on wire service reports.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide