What’s with the scaffolding on the King Street Station tower?

Temporary steel structure emerges at 5th floor to support Fraco scaffolding. Photo by John Stamets.

If you have been wondering what’s going on now at the King Street Station (KSS), you’ve got company!  The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has had many inquiries about the scaffolding that now adorns the 12 story clock tower.  

The restoration project is now in the midst of Phase 2B – the last phase of work which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2013. This phase of work is perhaps the most time-consuming as it involves retrofitting the entire building to withstand a major earthquake and making structural upgrades.

The scaffolding system attached to the clock tower is called a Mast Climbing Work Platform (MCWP) and is a relatively new system.  In contrast to what is more commonly used,  this system, which is manufactured by Fraco,  allows safe transport of both workers and their materials up and down the tower exterior.  Trevina Wang, SDOT’s King Street Station Program Manager, notes that compared to the old traditional swing stages or conventional scaffolding , our contractor finds this system to be the very best in its field.

To date, some of the highlights of the restoration include:  replacing the existing roof with original terra cotta tiles; removing the lighting and removing microwave dish on clock tower; repairing the clock to working order;  removing  the outside escalator and restoring the building façade; restoring  the grand staircase; removing  the false ceiling tiles that were a “modern” upgrade last century to reveal  and restore the original ornate ceiling; creating a new Amtrak administration and operation space; removing a parking lot to restore and build the Jackson Plaza which features replicas of the old “Gumby-like” light posts.

The King Street Station was completed in May of 1906. Ultimately, the restoration will renew the station’s historic character and identity. The upgraded facilities will meet present and future needs for rail and transit passenger travel transforming the station into a major multimodal transportation hub. The rehabilitation also enhances passenger safety and security while promoting sustainable design with a LEED* Platinum building certification.

To view  more construction photos please visit our website.

*Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design