PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia city officials say a complete overhaul of the video displays is getting underway at the “President’s House” historical exhibit in center city.

The site, which opened just ten months ago on Independence Mall (see related story), has been plagued with technical problems right from the beginning.

The biggest single problem at the President’s House, according to city public property commissioner Joan Schlotterbeck, are the video screens that are supposed to tell the stories of the slaves who live there.

“We have water getting in, we have heat buildup,” she explains.  “And we now know that the system we installed is not the optimal system.”

The displays are out of doors and exposed to the elements, and the seals used to weatherproof them apparently leaked.

Schlotterbeck says an entirely new audio-visual system will be installed.

What took so long?

“We have been working with this problem almost since the beginning.  We got to a point where we knew there was no way out — we had to replace the entire system.  And we’ve been exploring opportunities to make sure we got it right,” she told KYW Newsradio this morning.

The technical makeover will take a few months, and Schlotterbeck says the original equipment is still under warranty, so the city’s cost is minimal.

Other problems at the President’s House site, she says, include a failure of a roof structure that is also being replaced.  The city, as construction contractor for the site, is currently responsible for correcting its defects.

Reported by KYW City Hall bureau chief Mike Dunn

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