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As we seem to be reminded of fairly often these days, places of national significance tend to attract angry people with weapons. And at the moment, all that stands between the Washington Monument and the terrorists are some perimeter security bollards and a boxy, temporary screening facility—the National Park Service tried to build a permanent one back in 2002, but the design would have forced visitors to enter through a building 400 feet away from the Monument and walk through an underground tunnel to get there, and the idea was roundly rejected.
Now, the Park Service is trying again. The stubbornly dead-tree Northwest Current reports this week that five options for a new screening facility were presented to the Commission on Fine Arts, and will come up at the National Capital Planning Commission next week before a public scoping session on November 8. Four of the options would dig a security facility into the mound sloping up to the monument, accessed by ramps and pathways, and require the Monument’s elevator to be extended downward to meet visitors. The last option, a glass cube set on top of the mound, is probably off the table because screening must take place out of view of the general public.
Here are sketches of the four likely options, kindly supplied by architect Beyer Blinder Belle:
Option A (Side View):
Option B (Front View):
Option B (Top View)
Option C (Front View)
Option D (Front View)
Option D (Top View):