Jefferson National Expansion Memorial | St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

The Keystone Exhibit will include a replica of the observation deck with a live-stream video from atop the 360-foot Arch.
Provided | Gateway Arch Park Foundation

When the renovated Jefferson National Expansion Memorial reopens next summer, it will connect the Gateway Arch to the city it represents.

The $380 million CityArchRiver project will include a west-facing entrance that links the museum and visitor center to downtown. The five-year project aims to make the park more accessible and interactive, said Ryan McClure, director of communications at Gateway Arch Foundation.

“You’ll have a welcoming, connected experience,” McClure said. “You’ll be able to enter through the Arch visitor’s center from Fourth Street to the Arch, to the river. There will not be a stair step or intersection in your way.”

Gateway ARch Sunshine
(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

Updated 5 p.m., Jan. 26 with capital campaign informationRenovation work at the Arch Grounds still has more than a year to go, but planners have finished finding the money to pay for it.

CityArchRiver Foundation, the nonprofit organization helping coordinate and raise funds for the project, announced Tuesday it has completed its $250 million capital campaign.

Vito Comporato, right, and another worker during the construction of the Gateway Arch.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Archives

The story of the engineers and ironworkers who built Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch never gets old, and Wednesday — the 50th anniversary of "topping out" day — might be one of the last opportunities for St. Louisans to meet the men and shake their hands.

Because a standard monumental shape — an obelisk, rectangle or dome — wouldn’t do for Saarinen, the Arch remains a one-of-a-kind monument built of 630 feet of Wow! His design was modern and bold:  a sleek and outsized arch of gleaming stainless steel on the St. Louis riverfront that would celebrate America’s pioneer spirit.

The Baby Arch project

It’s headed for St. Louis, an arch to the sky;

A Gateway to the West, 630 feet high.

A hundred generations will see what you’ve made

Risin’ on the Mississippi with glory and grace.

— “An American Dream” by Ike Erdman and David Bush

Retired welder Ike Erdmann is proud of the work that he and nearly 300 Pennsylvania boilermakers did on the Gateway Arch 50 years ago, so he wrote and recorded a song about them.

Rendering of the exterior of the renovated Arch museum.
CityArchRiver

The timing might have been better, Walter L. Metcalfe Jr. said Wednesday.

His plan was to remain as chairman of the CityArchRiver Foundation through Oct. 28, 2015, the golden jubilee of the topping off of the Gateway Arch, which is the central feature of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the signature of St. Louis.

Oct. 28 was his marker, Metcalfe said, his exit cue. He said he had no desire to stay on for the next phase of the project, the organization of a conservancy for the Arch-centered project.

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates and National Park Service

What’s it like to perch atop the Gateway Arch, 630 feet above the city of St. Louis?

The National Park Service has been releasing stunning videos of technicians from the Wiss, Janney, Elstner  engineering firm roping down the north leg to collect samples of the discoloration on the monument’s stainless steel exterior.

For St. Louisans, who watched in awe as the workers hung onto the shiny icon last October, the videos are must-see: The footage was captured with GoPro cameras mounted on the helmets of the Arch-walkers, and it’s … dizzying.