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Capitol’s south lawn being replaced ahead of session

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Legislators are expected to step onto a new lawn when they arrive at the Capitol for the 2022 legislative session next month after the grass in front of the building is replaced. 

The replacement was spearheaded by the Office of Administration’s Division of Facilities Management, Design, and Construction (FMDC). The south lawn was fenced off late last month and crews began their work this week, with the replacement expected to be completed by the start of the legislative session on Jan. 5. 

The statehouse and the surrounding grounds underwent a major renovation from early 2018 through the beginning of 2021, but it wasn’t until the project was complete that the state noticed issues with the lawn. 

“After the Capitol renovation was complete, FMDC noticed that there was gravel and clay underneath the existing sod that was resulting in chronic and extensive dry patches of grass that required excessive watering and resulted in disease and poor appearance,” OA spokesman Chris Moreland said in an email to The Missouri Times. “We will be removing the sod, the hard claypan, and gravel under these extensive areas of the turf, and will replace it with new topsoil and grass sod.” 

Contractors are replacing the grass on the Capitol’s south lawn ahead of session. (THE MISSOURI TIMES/CAMERON GERBER)

Moreland said the $126,000 project was being covered by a facilities maintenance reserve fund for the moment, though the state is looking at other pots to draw from for the project.

The replacement is being handled by contractors from Brown and Root Industrial Services, which has a location in Jefferson City.  

The Capitol renovation project — which updated the exterior of the statehouse and repaired sidewalks, fountains, and statues around the grounds — was finally completed ahead of Gov. Mike Parson’s inauguration and the state’s bicentennial. The $28 million project was part of a larger capital improvement effort approved by the legislature in 2014.