12-year renovation complete at statehouse

By The Mercury

An extensive, 12-year renovation on the state capitol was finally completed last week in Topeka, just in time for the start of the legislative session Monday.

In addition to replacing the building’s copper dome, the $332 million project, which began in December 2001, included updates to water, electrical, heating, air-conditioning and fire-safety systems.

Legislative offices are now bigger and better, and meeting rooms are more accommodating to spectators. A new visitor center features a hall of notable Kansans, a gallery of landscapes and a new store.

The state also built an underground parking garage and expanded the basement, adding 128,000 square feet of space.

Certainly the most visible change, though, is the building’s copper dome, which had oxidized over time to a murky green. Now that the scaffolding has come down, the Statehouse gleams like a new penny.  It’s expected to be 40 or 50 years before the copper dome completely loses its shine again.

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