BENNINGTON — As the state determines how to light the Battle of Bennington monument in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, the 306-foot, 131-year-old monument is also undergoing a stone-by-stone assessment of its overall condition .

“Our records are full of fragmentary assessments — things that only look at part of the structure,” said historic preservation manager Laura Trieschmann. “We even have appraisals going back to 1920 – 30 years before the state owned it.”

But these records do not include a thorough account of the condition of the monument, or how time and the elements have affected it.

“We have to stop fixing it by reaction,” Trieschmann said. “We need to proactively assess it.”

That could change. A study that began in January reads like a list of construction specialties: heating, air conditioning, masonry, elevator system, stairs and lighting system, to name a few- one.

Sometime later this spring or summer, workers might even rappel down the side of the monument to get a closer look at the stones, Trieschmann said. Drones will also be used to take a closer look at cracks, stresses, spalling, mortar breakage and the condition of old mortar patches.

“There is a whole series of specialists who study the monument during the four seasons,” Trieschmann said. “They often come to visit us during the different changes of seasons – so that they can see during a rain where it is raining inside, where it might be coming from, how the stone absorbs moisture; in deep frosts, how the humidity turns into waterfalls of frozen ice inside the monument.

The need arose when a new computerized elevator system was installed in 2016. This new system led to other issues that exacerbated some of the existing heating and cooling issues inside the monument.

“As we started looking at this, we realized we had too many piecemeal studies. We had to do it holistically,” Trieschmann said.

What the state has is a complete history of the monument’s interior lighting.

“Nobody ever seems to take anything off” when it comes to lights, Trieschmann said. “We need to eliminate that and do what is most appropriate to ensure it is energy efficient, cost effective and safe.”

“We also want to make sure it’s lighting that we can control, because it’s a very tall structure,” she said. “We don’t want to keep going up and down to change a light bulb.”

The work is funded by the state’s annual capital construction bill.

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