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Repaired Battleship TEXAS Reopens Saturday
LA PORTE – The Battleship TEXAS State Historic Site will reopen to the public tomorrow after being closed since June 24 for repairs to fix leaks in the historic vessel’s metal hull.
“We’re expecting pretty much business as usual from the visiting public’s perspective when we reopen, although there will be some continuing repair and cleanup work,” said Andy Smith, site superintendent with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The latest round of leaks began on June 9, which ship employees described as worse leaks with higher water inflow than anything they’d experienced in the last 15 years. Since then, TPWD has hired salvage and dive team and oil cleanup contractors to help repair leaks and pump water out of Blister tanks on the ship’s outer hull. Costs for these repairs are close to $1 million and expected to rise.
TPWD is still assessing options for the ship’s long-term future. But one thing seems clear: moving it is not feasible, a fact underscored by the recent situation. Ship surveys by outside experts Proceanic in 2008 and AECOMM in 2011 strongly recommended against towing the ship any significant distance.
In keeping with a master plan for the entire San Jacinto Battleground, TPWD has been exploring a permanent solution to dry berth the ship on site. In October 2010, TPWD contracted for a preliminary dry berthing design with AECOM, a global architecture and engineering design firm.
AECOM submitted estimates on four proposed dry berth options in September 2011 and a fifth in May 2012. These ranged from $33 million to $48 million for the dry-berth alone, plus an additional approximately $23 million for necessary repairs before the ship could be placed on the berth. As of July 1, after design studies and other expenses, $23.9 million remained in the battleship project budget.
Battleship TEXAS State Historic Site is one of the most popular destinations in the state park system, with admission and merchandise revenue approaching $1 million annually and attendance consistently around 100,000 visitors each year. The historic site is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Entrance fees are $12 for adults; children 12 and younger can tour the vessel for free.
Anyone wishing to make a donation toward the preservation of the 100-year-old battleship may do so at http://www.battleshiptexas.org
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