Legislature Budgets $259 for Capitol Renovation

By: Kyle Markley Email
By: Kyle Markley Email

Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - Senate File 103, a bill for the rehabilitation and restoration of the Wyoming State Capitol Building has been filed and will be introduced in the Senate this week.
The bill filed Wednesday morning would appropriate $259 million for the project. An expensive project, but it will be giving the public more access to our government.
Wyoming's historic Capitol Building remains the crown jewel of Cheyenne, but the 128 year old building is in desperate need of a face-lift.
The project would have a budget of $259 million, about 40 percent of which has already been raised.
"Over the past 10 years the state of Wyoming saved $105 million for the Capitol Project. We're anticipating about $37 million a year or more for the next four years to complete the project," said Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, (R) Laramie County
But the plan is to come in well under the $259 million budget.
"30 of that is contingency funds. So we're hoping about $225 million for the entire restoration of the state capitol, the Herschler and all the land in between," Zwonitzer said.
Besides the many necessities the building needs to address, it will also provide some amenities to give the public greater access to its government.
"As you probably know, if you go to a committee hearing, you can't even get in the door let alone probably get a seat. The plan will include larger committee rooms, state of the art technology for probably live streaming our sessions," said Sen. Tony Ross, (R) Laramie County
"We are going to build four large committee rooms in what's now the tunnel between the Capitol Building and the Herschler Building and have more of a public square if you will," Zwonitzer said.
After discussing the project with other states in the region who have renovated their capitol in recent years, the decision was made to move all employees completely out of the building and over to the Herschler Building while construction is done.
"Colorado was supposed to have a four year plan. They spent over a decade and they're still working on their capitol because they were trying to do it in stages. For architectural reasons. For saving state money. Just getting it done in two years, having everyone move out seems to be the best, most fiscally responsible option for the state," said Zwonitzer.
Legislators want construction to last a little over two years so the project would be done in 2017.
That year is significant because it marks the 100th anniversary of the building's final expansion in 1917. Giving the building its current look that we see today.
On Friday we will have the final part in our Capitol renovation series where we look at some possible changes top state elected officials could be facing.

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