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Company Chosen to Build Memorial to 9/11 Victims

Wed August 27, 2003 - National Edition

ARLINGTON (AP) A Fairfax County company beat out two Maryland competitors for the contract to build the memorial to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack at the Pentagon.

“We are elated,” Paul Nassetta, vice president of Centex Lee LLC, said Aug. 6 after the Pentagon announced that his company had been awarded the $11.5-million contract.

Clark/Ai Memorial Builders Inc., of Bethesda, MD, and Grunley-Walsh, of Rockville, MD, were the other finalists.

Nancy Gunderson, acquisition and business group leader for the Pentagon Renovation Program, which is overseeing the memorial project, said Centex Lee “had superior proposals and the lowest price.”

The contract was expected to be signed Aug. 15, but it is unclear when work on the memorial will begin. Families of the victims are in the early stages of fund-raising and have set a goal of $20 million to cover the cost of building and maintaining the memorial. A separate three-week fund drive at the Pentagon will end soon.

Family members have said that about $1.5 million is needed to begin construction.

New York architects Keith Kaseman, 31, and Julie Beckman, 30, submitted the winning memorial design in a competition that attracted more than 1,100 entries. Their design comprises 184 cantilevered benches — one for each victim in the Pentagon and on American Airlines Flight 77 — each with an illuminated reflecting pool.

The benches will be aligned along the path of Flight 77. The ground will be covered with a gravel-like material that will also cover a portion of each bench as it rises out of the ground.