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National Cathedral Will Reopen In November; Repairs Will Cost Millions

The National Cathedral, closed since sustaining extensive damage from the August earthquake that shook Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area, will reopen on Nov. 12, according to officials.

The cathedral is also trying to raise money to pay for repairs, estimated to run into the tens of millions of dollars. A statement on the landmark's website says organizers are seeking "at least $25 million" to cover its expenses through the end of 2012.

The quake damaged several spires and pinnacles high above the cathedral's roof, and caused cracks in its exterior. According to the statement, there seems to be no rappelling going on, as there was at the Washington Monument — a part of that monument's repairs that has now been completed, according to the AP.

Adjacent to the National Cathedral, a huge crane is in place, and scaffolding that resembles a giant roof deck is being assembled across its spires:

A safety perimeter remains in place during stabilization work involving a 550-ton-capacity construction crane, with which workers are in the process of placing numerous steel beams weighing a total of 70 tons in the central tower. Scaffolding is being constructed atop the beams to gain access to and then safely remove the damaged pinnacles.

The cathedral, whose foundation stone was laid in 1907, was constructed in several phases — the last of which ended in 1990.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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