Archive for Thursday, December 6, 2007

Capitol renovation price tag revealed to cost $285.6 million

December 6, 2007

Topeka -- There's a new price tag on the Capitol renovation project: $285.6 million.

That is roughly three times the cost that was recommended when the project was envisioned in 2000.

And it represents more than $100 million more than the a cost estimate made earlier this year.

The new estimate includes renovation of the north wing, the price of which hadn't been included in the earlier projection.

And it includes $38.8 million in new costs to repair and restore the exterior stone of the building, and $4.2 million to fix the copper dome.

Much of today's meeting of the Capitol Restoration Commission, which includes legislative leaders, was spent briefing lawmakers on the poor condition of the exterior masonry.

"The time has come for a comprehensive restoration project to address these issues," said Vance Kelley, project manager for Treanor Architects, the Lawrence-based firm that leads the project.

Other cost increases have been due to expanding the scope of the project to include more office space, a parking garage and visitor center, and inflation in construction material, officials said.

The Capitol Restoration Commission unanimously endorsed the new costs associated with the exterior and dome work.

"I think it's a pretty general feeling of the Legislature that we do have a responsibility to the future to try and step up here and make sure things get done," House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said.

"None of us like increased costs," Neufeld said, but he said the changing scope of the project has required more funding.

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