- Associated Press - Saturday, December 24, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - More than three years of renovations at the Alaska State Capitol have wrapped up and the building’s expected to be fully open for business in January.

About $36 million has been spent to reinforce the structure against earthquakes, improve its heating system and freshen up the look of the 85-year-old building. Six new rooms have also been added to the Capitol, The Juneau Empire reported (https://bit.ly/2i1Su6s).

With all the work that’s been put in, project manager Jeff Goodell said it’s still hard for some people to notice the changes. He said the exterior renovations are more noticeable than the work completed on the inside.

“Just recently, I had the House Rules chair (Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage), and I had taken her into one of the suites, and she said, ‘Well, what was it you did in here? It all looks the same,’” Goodell said.

He had to explain that the entire floor had been gutted and there were no rooms, fittings or walls just a few months before LeDoux’s visit.

On the building’s outside, the old red and yellow brick has been replaced with darker masonry that is more resistant to rain and moisture. There’s also fresh copper cladding and clean stonework throughout its facade.

“If you look at the building from the outside, you should notice quite a bit of difference,” Goodell said.

The Legislature began setting aside money for the work in 2006 after the Capitol began showing signs of aging. The state of Alaska funded most of the project, while the Juneau Community Foundation contributed $1 million.

Goodell said he thinks the $36 million put in to the project was worth it for the state.

“I think so, yes, and I hope the residents of the state feel the same way,” he said. “This building was in disrepair, things were falling off, and now it’s a thing of real beauty.”

There is still some minor work that is left to be done on the building, but the project’s architect, Wayne Jensen, said those tasks should be complete by next summer.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com


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