PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Pacific Aviation Museum officially began the $7.5 million stabilization project to preserve the historic Ford Island Control Tower with a Hawaiian blessing, Feb. 25.
"It's time to begin this long-awaited and badly needed tower stabilization project," said Pacific Aviation Museum Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff.
The tower is a prominent structure on Ford Island that survived the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Former Congressman and now Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie was instrumental in helping to secure $3.8 million through the Department of Defense appropriations for the stabilization and restoration of an historic landmark.
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Rear Adm. Dixon Smith delivered remarks and spoke of a shared commitment to preserve history.
"Work to secure a sub-lease of the control tower with the Pacific Aviation Museum has been going on for a lot longer than I've been here," said Smith. "Yes, there have been some bumps and potholes along the way, but we all had the same vision; to see the proper restoration and preservation of the control tower."
"Without a doubt, the Navy has a responsibility to our history and preserving our history. We have to meet that. This is a win-win for all of us to be able to preserve the history of this great tower" Smith Said.
Lance Wilhelm, senior vice president of Kiewit Building Group Inc., is the contractor for the stabilization project, along with Project Manager Scott Ruppel, Project Engineer Matt Brannon and Kiewit Business Manager Alma Ohta.
"We look forward to assisting Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor in the stabilization of the historic building and control tower that defines the skyline in Pearl Harbor," said Wilhelm.
The tower is the second project Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor and Kiewit Building Group have done together. Kiewit Building Group was the general contractor for the current site of the Museum when it opened Dec. 6, 2006.
The Ford Island Tower complex was constructed in 1941. It consists of a 3rd story Aerological Center and Observation Deck on top of the 2-story Operations Building, and the Air Traffic Control Center on top a 158-foot steel water tank tower. It played a major role in the naval activity at Pearl Harbor, especially during World War II.
The Tower is registered as a Category I structure in the Pearl Harbor Naval Base Historic Preservation Plan of 1978.
Over the past 30 years, the steel components throughout the structure which include the tower skin, stairs, landings, ladders, beams, fascia and flanges are experiencing severe corrosion. Many of the components require repair and refinishing, and in some areas complete removal and replacement.
Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. According to its website, its mission is to "develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in The Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history."
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.