NC Transportation Museum receives state funding to renovate Spencer Shops power station

The NC Transportation Museum will receive $ 10 million in public funds to complete the renovation of the Spencer Shops Powerhouse, the second oldest building in the shopping complex which dates back to 1896. The Spencer Powerhouse is waiting to become a center for special events.

SPENCER, NC – The NC Transportation Museum will receive $ 10 million in state funding to complete the renovation of the Spencer Shops Powerhouse, the second oldest building in the shopping complex which dates back to 1896, and to restore the Car Shed to house the museum’s passenger cars. An additional $ 280,000 will be used to replace lost income from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Funding comes after the law was approved and enacted by the State General Assembly by Governor Roy Cooper. The power station and the carport are both important to the future of the museum.

“We would like to thank Governor Cooper, the General Assembly, the leadership of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and the North Carolina Museum of Transportation Foundation for all their support of the museum and obtaining of this funding, ”said Kelly Alexander, executive director of the museum. “These projects will allow us to engage our visitors, increase our economic impact and preserve our equipment for years to come.

“These buildings are critical to our continued growth in exhibit expansion, providing protected storage for restored passenger equipment and providing support facilities for our outdoor car, truck and fire truck exhibits.” said Roy Johnson, president of the NC Transportation Museum Foundation.

The 1896 power plant will be renovated to provide space for special events and a venue for traveling exhibitions, while the Car Shed will cover the museum’s passenger car fleet. A $ 1.6 million renovation of the power plant in 2016 stabilized the walls and repaired the windows and doors.

The next step will be to create two special event spaces, one of 5,400 square feet and the other of 4,300 square feet. It will also allow the installation of toilets, a catering kitchen, an outdoor patio and a covered picnic shelter. Next door will be a children’s play area and outdoor special events space for car shows, concerts, festivals and other events.

The car shed measures approximately 80 feet by 120 feet and is the section of a much longer building that was where the freight cars were built and repaired.

This building is essential for the museum as a location where restored passenger cars will be housed when not in use.

The museum restored 3 heavy duty coaches and purchased or received additional coaches, a Pullman and a private car, all of which required varying degrees of restoration.

The scope of work will include the removal of the remaining roof deck, seismic bracing of the existing structure with a new addition of similar construction, a new roof, partial side walls, painting, lighting, ventilation and protection. against fires. A new track and work on the adjacent site, including access to the sidewalk, will connect this building to the powerhouse and the back room which opened in 2017.

The centerpiece of the museum is the 37-stall Bob Julian Roundhouse, completed in 1996 and host to the South Norfolk Heritage Units event in 2012 and the Streamliners at Spencer in 2014 which brings together over 30 historic taxi units. The rotunda was also the site of the restoration of the Norfolk & Western Class J 4-8-4 # 611 in 2016. Other notable events are underway.


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