Five words that do not normally go together when talking about a government-backed project are: On time and under budget.
But that feat was what state officials were hailing on Oct. 2 as part of a ceremony to mark the reopening of the Capitol …
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But that feat was what state officials were hailing on Oct. 2 as part of a ceremony to mark the reopening of the Capitol dome.
A three-year, $17 million restoration project was needed to fix and renovate a 120-year-old dome that has seen weather-caused deterioration over the years.
Gov. John Hickenlooper said the project's success is “a symbol of the resilience of this state.”
“This is a gift we're giving for generations in the future,” he said.
Colorado's harsh freeze and thaw cycles made the repairs necessary. In 2006, corrosion to the dome caused a 10-pound piece of iron to fall, which led to the closing of the observation deck and the installation of a netting system.
Repairs commenced after lawmakers created a package of bipartisan bills four years ago to fund the restoration.
During much of the project, the dome was cloaked in scrim and scaffolding. It wasn't until early this year that part of the dome was revealed from under the draping.
Workers replaced the deteriorating metal fasteners with stainless steel. The original copper panels were replaced and the lightning protection system was enhanced, according to state architect Larry Friedberg.
The dome was re-gilded with 65 ounces of gold that came from parts of Colorado that included Cripple Creek and was later prepared in Florence, Italy.
“Today, the sun shines bright on this beautiful October day,” said state Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch.
The dome observation deck — which offers spectacular views of Denver — was reopened to the public shortly after the ceremony.
For visitors like Josiah and Hannah Goering of Chicago, the timing couldn't have been more impeccable.
The two were visiting Colorado and specifically had a trip to the Capitol on their to-do list because Hannah's grandparents had taken a picture of themselves on the Capitol steps during their honeymoon some 67 years ago.
“We came here to recreate the photo,” she said. “We even brought black and white film.”
Had their trip occurred a week earlier, they wouldn't have been able to view Denver's skyline from atop the Capitol.
“It's a happy coincidence,” she said.
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