CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nearly 15 years after its completion, the West Virginia Veterans Memorial is finally on the way to reflecting its designer's original plans.
On Wednesday, the Capitol Building Commission, which oversees all changes to the state Capitol Complex's physical appearance, unanimously approved extensive repairs to the veterans memorial, which are expected to cost between $1.6 million and $1.8 million.
The project now will be sent to the state purchasing division, which will put the project out for bids.
The project will include repairs to damages the memorial has received since it opened in 1999. But the work also will, for the first time, introduce design elements sculptor Joe Mullins had originally intended for the memorial but were never fully implemented.
That includes motion sensor lights and recessed lights meant to light up the memorial's reflecting pool.
Mullins' original design called for a large beam of light to shoot up from the middle of the memorial after the sun went down.
When a visitor approached the sign, motion sensors would shut off that spotlight and turn on "wash lights" to light up the memorial's interior and the names engraved on its four large granite slabs.
That never worked, but engineers with the Morgantown engineering firm Mills Group LLC have prepared a construction plan for the monument that would put Mullins' designs into a reality.
"We've re-created that exact same sequence," engineer Michael Mills told commission members on Wednesday.
The plan also calls for LED lighting to be installed in the memorial's reflecting pool. Mullins' plan called for neon lights, but they were removed because of electrical issues.