Capitol Renovation would Fix Major Safety Concerns

By: Kyle Markley Email
By: Kyle Markley Email

Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - The last major renovation to our State Capitol Building was completed in 1980, but it touched less than half the building, leaving many issues unresolved.
If a bill to allocate money for this project is passed this budget session, the project would begin next year.
Wyoming's State Capitol Building was originally completed in 1890 and has dominated the Cheyenne skyline ever since.
"This is probably the premier building of its type in this region," said George Skarmeas, Planning & Design Director for PDP, LLC.
Preservation Design Partnership, LLC has been hired to complete the design for the renovation. They specialize in restoring historic buildings, including doing similar projects on seven other state capitol buildings.
"Every 30 to 35 years it's necessary to do this because systems become obsolete and they need to be replaced. In fact, we have a series of failures in the building already that are telling us, it's time to do something," Skarmeas said.
Despite all its beauty, Wyoming's Capitol Building has safety concerns for those that work there everyday and those who come to see the historic landmark.
"The building does not have a smoke detection system that will essentially inform us that we have an issue, a risk happening, a fire," Skarmeas said.
If you look closely you'll notice that a sprinkler system or any fire suppression system is also absent from the building.
"This is a must in all buildings, all public buildings and the Capitol does not have that," said Skarmeas
It's restrooms currently are not up to code and it does not not meet current ADA accessibility standards.
The structure is showing deficiencies with cracks that are visible in the house chambers.
There is hail damage on the roof and significant deterioration on the outside the building.
"If you walk in the front steps now of the Capitol you'll notice there's a mesh above the front steps. That's to hold up an entire block of sandstone that is ready to come down," said Sen. Tony Ross, (R) Laramie County.
Many of the historic features that have been lost over the years will be recaptured.
"There are several skylights that have been removed. The traces and the framing is still in place so that we can recapture so that we can recaptured those elements. There's finishes throughout the building that have been covered over and we need also to make sure we restore and protect what we already have in place," Skarmeas said.
If the bill passes, PDP plans to finish the design by the end of the year and construction would begin at the conclusion of next year's legislative session. Wednesday night we will have the second part in our Capitol Renovation series where we will look at the cost and what benefits the public would see with a new State Capitol Building

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