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National Cathedral earthquake repairs to top $20 million

By the CNN Wire Staff
February 23, 2012 -- Updated 0022 GMT (0822 HKT)
Katie Francis, left, and Emma Cardini, look for damage on the National Cathedral in Washington last October after an earthquake.
Katie Francis, left, and Emma Cardini, look for damage on the National Cathedral in Washington last October after an earthquake.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Carvers are making new stones from limestone blocks from an Indiana quarry
  • Major scaffolding is erected around the damaged cathedral towers
  • A magnitude 5.8 earthquake damaged the landmark on August 23

Washington (CNN) -- While stone carvers chisel new pieces to repair damage inflicted on the Washington National Cathedral by an earthquake last August, fundraisers say the cathedral's restoration fund is $18 million short of the repair cost.

The cathedral, sometimes called "the spiritual home for the nation," was perhaps the hardest-hit landmark in the capital when a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck on August 23.

The Gothic cathedral's three towers and the carved pinnacles and embellishments that decorate them were severely affected by the earthquake.

"The repair work, which includes intricate stone carving and detailed masonry, and will require significant scaffolding and large cranes to access the damaged areas, could be completed in five years if sufficient funds are raised immediately," the cathedral said in a news release.

Carvers are fabricating new stones from blocks of limestone taken from the original quarries in Indiana, it said.

A total of $2 million was raised over the past six months to cover the cost of stabilizing damaged stones and protection to allow the cathedral to reopen, it said.

The total repair cost, initially estimated at $15 million, is now expected to be more than $20 million, leaving another $18 million to be raised, it said.

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