JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Now is the time to get some last minute photos of the Capitol, because the century-old building is finally getting a facelift.
The Missouri State Capitol grounds, starting Friday, March 2, will be the site of construction for the next few years as a $28 million restoration project gets underway.
The Capitol’s south lawn will be the staging area for the construction, becoming the home to heavy equipment, materials, and cranes.
“Heavy equipment will be coming in, actually, the night of March 1,” Cathy Brown, the director of the Missouri Office of Administration’s Division of Facilities Management, Design and Construction, said. “They’re ready to start immediately.”
“There’s going to be a lot of activity that everyone will see, starting next Friday.”
Chicago-based Bulley & Andrew Masonry Restoration LLC will begin the work, expected to last through 2020, with hopes of having the Capitol ready to be unveiled for the next scheduled inauguration.
The work will focus on addressing the Capitol’s exterior, working from the top of the dome to the ground, replacing stone and refinishing the artisan-crafted building.
But for such a project to take place, it means significant changes. The major change will be the look of the building itself, which will be surrounded by scaffolding as the process goes on, which will be enclosed.
The reason for this is so that heating and cooling may be pumped in, allowing the contractors to work year round, as well as protecting the stonework as the workers can do the more delicate work in a controlled environment.
This work will include:
- Renovating and repairing the exterior stone facades
- Checking and Resetting stones
- Replacing pavers on the North Plaza and repairing the retaining wall
- Repairs to the fountain
- Repairing, restoring and waterproofing balustrades.
- Removing and waterproofing the terrace level balustrades and repairing or renovating the balustrade lighting.
- Replacing joints and cleaning the entire Capitol exterior
The project is part of the $40 million State Capitol Project that was appropriated during the 2014 legislative session, which was approved with the hopes of extending the life of the building.
But it will also affect the traffic to the Capitol, with the South Circle Drive closing to traffic and merging the two lanes on the north side into one lane and eliminating parking, roughly about 70 public parking spaces. Visitors will still be able to access the Capitol through the normal Carriage Entrance doors under the south steps.
It also means that the annual 4th of July ceremonies will have to adjust to the changes, but members of the Capitol Commission stated that they have been in contact with Jefferson City leaders to work with them and accommodate and plan around the construction.
While it means inconvenience and growing pains for many who work in the Capitol complex, as well as the more than 400,000 visitors annually, Sen. Mike Kehoe says that the work is “going to make this fantastic building safe and water-tight and look beautiful for another hundred years.”
“This is the people’s Capitol, and we should treat it with the respect and the admiration that it deserves,” Sen. Caleb Rowden said, echoing Kehoe’s sentiments.
Check out the diagrams below to see how parking and entrances will be affected:
Read more at https://capitol.mo.gov/construction/.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.