CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The lights are still out at the West Virginia Veterans Memorial, and it's going to take some major work to get them back on.
A recent review found the electrical system is shot, the lighting fixtures have failed and the filtration system for the reflecting pool needs significant repairs.
The state Department of Administration hired Morgantown engineering firm Mills Group LLC in February to conduct an architectural and engineering review. In conducting their review, engineers with the Mills Group reviewed blueprints from 1988 and made on-site inspections.
The firm submitted a written report to the Department of Administration last month.
In addition to electrical and drainage issues, engineers also found problems with masonry, including cracked paving stones, failing joints and damages caused by lawnmowers.
The monument's four large pylons are in good condition and need only minor repairs. The interior granite veneer, which contains veterans' names, also is in good shape.
The low limestone walls surrounding the monument are in "decent condition," according to the report, with deterioration, chips and cracks that do not affect their structural integrity.
The biggest problems are with the lighting and the reflecting pool's filtration and drainage systems.
"Very few of the lights are in working order and have long since been discontinued from their manufacturer," reviewers wrote. "A complete lighting replacement is required."
The monument was originally supposed to be feature a central "sunburst" spotlight, while the rest of the memorial remained dark. Motion sensors would detect visitors, at which point the central light would be switched off and "wash lights" would illuminate the walls.
That lighting plan has never really worked. The controller for the central light failed at some point, and the wash lights were switched to a photocell, dusk-to-dawn style controller.
Lighting has continued to be a problem over the last 20 years, as drainage systems malfunctioned and water caused lighting fixtures to fail.
Engineers recommended the state replace the monument's entire electrical system, install a new controller for the lighting, and retrofit the current lights with newer LED fixtures.
"LED fixtures provide a much longer life cycle than the traditional metal halide fixtures currently installed," the report said.