- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 29, 2007

RICHMOND — The source of a leak at the renovated Capitol continues to elude officials, but they’re narrowing the possibilities.

Three months after government workers began returning to their jobs at the statehouse, a Senate office on a ground-floor corridor connecting the Capitol with a 27,000-square-foot subterranean addition is still damp.

The 200-year-old Capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson, was renovated and expanded at a cost to taxpayers of $104.5 million. The project was finished in May.

Post-construction problems — primarily minor — are detailed on what contractors call a “punch list.” The list once had 2,584 items but has been reduced to fewer than 300. They include improperly polished granite in the Rotunda and malfunctioning light fixtures.

“These are the finishing touches,” said Richard F. Sliwoski, director of the Virginia Department of General Services, who is responsible for the upkeep and operation of state buildings.

The leak, he suggested, may be the result of flawed waterproofing beneath the portico’s deck.

“We’re still speculating,” Mr. Sliwoski said.

Within days, he said, workers will remove about eight 2-by-2-foot tiles from the southwest corner of the portico to look for clues on the source of the leak.

Mr. Sliwoski said the bill for repairs will be sent to Gilbane/Christman, lead construction firm on the landmark project, if it is determined the contractor or those it hired are to blame.

Otherwise, taxpayers cover the cost.

The Capitol was closed in March 2005 because its central masonry structure was weakened by moisture saturation that had turned some of its original, hand-fired bricks into clay. The building was gutted, its damaged bricks and mortar were replaced, and old skylights atop the central Rotunda and the House and Senate chambers were uncovered and restored.

The project also added a new public entryway from the street south of the Capitol that opens into the cavernous subterranean extension finished in carved granite, glass and gleaming polished steel.

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