Archives facility joins Washington Monument among closed federal buildings

The National Archives and Records Administration announced Friday that its Suitland, Md., Washington National Records Center will remain closed through Aug. 29 due to damage from Tuesday's earthquake.

Engineers are reviewing the damage, which included spalling and cracking of masonry in internal walls and stairwells, a small water leak in the stacks, and some shelving failures in a vault within one stack area, the agency said in a news release.

Jay Bosanko, the National Archives executive for agency services, said no records were damaged. "Our first and foremost priority is the safety of our employees and visitors to the building," he said. "We are working closely with the General Services Administration to ensure that we achieve that before we reopen the doors. We are also paying close attention to the security of the records."

During the shuttering, a small team of Archives staff members is remaining on-site to prepare for Hurricane Irene and respond to a limited number of emergency requests from federal agencies.

The Washington Monument also remains closed because several cracks were found at its top after the earthquake. Carol Johnson, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said on Friday that an engineering team inspected the monument Thursday and concluded that "it is basically structurally sound, but will need repairs." A report is being prepared. "We are confident it can reopen," she said, "It's just a question of when."

The team reviewing the damage includes NPS specialists, historical architects and engineers with expertise in earthquakes from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. of Northbook, Ill., and Tipping Mar Associates of Berkeley, Calif.

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