Mount Rainier's Paradise Inn reopens after $25M renovation

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MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) — The 79-room annex at Mount Rainier National Park's Paradise Inn has reopened after a $25 million renovation.

The annex reopened Friday after a 19-month closure, The News Tribune reported . The building is almost a century old and accounts for more than half of the hotel rooms in the park.

The mountain wasn't out for the celebration to mark the occasion, but the park's operations manager, Melinda Simpson, said that didn't matter.

"It's sunny inside," she said.

The renovations brought the building up to seismic code, fixed where the foundation had sunk, installed new fire safety systems and included electrical and plumbing upgrades. The last time the electrical system was updated was during President Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration in the 1950s.

Simpson, who started working at the inn's pantry in 1973, said she's excited that the floors no longer creak and that the windows all open and have screens that stay put.

As for the renovated guest rooms: "People will see a dramatic change," said park Superintendent Chip Jenkins.

Following an opening ceremony Friday, visitors were able to tour some of them.

"Oh this is so much better," said Erin Burke, a Mount Rainier biological science technician, as she peaked in a room and saw photos of what they looked like before. "This is incredible."

Soundproofing work was done between rooms, and insulation and energy efficient lights were added.

Workers preserved the historic crown molding on three floors, many of the original windows and the window trim of the guest rooms, as well as the exterior stone of the building's foundation.

The main inn was built in 1916 and closed for a remodel in 2006-07.

Its annex opened in 1921. Together the buildings are a national historic landmark.

Rooms at the inn run $138 to $332. The inn closes for the winter on Oct. 1.

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