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9/11 A Decade Later: Glass Atrium Rises At WTC Memorial Site

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A lot of the work happening in the former World Trade Center site is going on at the memorial and museum, including a glass atrium that will soon welcome millions of visitors. NY1's Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.

Ever so carefully, workers are starting to place glass in what will be the atrium atop the September 11th National Memorial Museum. It's delicate work that takes many steady hands. Currently, there are upwards of 150 people working on the building every day.

"The design itself is a difficult design, so just to get the design to work there's been a lot of effort expended on that. Then there's the site constraints. It's a very tight site and we've got a very aggressive and tight schedule so when you combine all three of those it stacks up and it's more than your normal job," said WW Glass Project Manager Bruce Hernsdorf.

There will be more than 450 pieces of glass on the outside of the atrium in 350 different shapes. NY1 recently got an exclusive look at some of the first panels being installed.

Memorial officials say it's been a challenge to get to this point because the site is so complex.

"Everything you see here with this particular building was coordinated about a year and a half ago. We had to kind of coordinate our construction with the Port Authority’s hub and the plaza construction. And as we move forward, we’ll just refine those logistics," said September 11th National Memorial Museum Vice President for Construction Lou Mendes.

The memorial museum project is a costly one. The estimated price tag is $610 million: a combination of federal funds and private donations. Before entering, museum goers will be screened in the memorial pavilion which will also house an auditorium and a private room for victims' families.

In keeping with the memorial's theme, "Reflecting Absence," the glass in the atrium will mirror the site.

"When you look at the building, you see the plaza. When you look at the plaza, you see the trees, you see the rest of it, but there’s not a point in this area where looking at the building you don’t see that there’s a plaza behind you. So it all meshes and blends in very well," Mendes said.

Outside, trees will surround the two reflecting pools in the towers' original footprints.

Officials say tight as it is, everything is on schedule. The plaza is set to open on a limited basis on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, when the atrium's exterior is scheduled to be finished.

The museum is scheduled to open in September 2012.

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