Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Capitol renovation costs keep going up

Another increase expected to be announced today

December 4, 2007

Advertisement

Price tag continues to grow in capitol renovation

With the price tag already 50 million dollars over the high-end estimates of 7 years ago, the dollar amount continues to climb on restorations to the state capitol building in Topeka. Enlarge video

Kansas Statehouse architect Barry Greis, left, visits with architects Sarah Hammontree, center and Joy Coleman of Treanor Architects of Lawrence on Tuesday inside the House of Representatives chamber at the Capitol. The House chambers are currently being renovated, part of a 10-year Statehouse restoration project.

Kansas Statehouse architect Barry Greis, left, visits with architects Sarah Hammontree, center and Joy Coleman of Treanor Architects of Lawrence on Tuesday inside the House of Representatives chamber at the Capitol. The House chambers are currently being renovated, part of a 10-year Statehouse restoration project.

The dome of the Kansas Statehouse in downtown Topeka is reflected off the windows of a nearby building. Legislators have their hands full this year with lots of items on the agenda and little money to go around. And they'll be looking ahead to elections in November when all legislative seats will be on the ballot.

The dome of the Kansas Statehouse in downtown Topeka is reflected off the windows of a nearby building. Legislators have their hands full this year with lots of items on the agenda and little money to go around. And they'll be looking ahead to elections in November when all legislative seats will be on the ballot.

New furniture, waiting to be moved into renovated offices, sits stacked in boxes on the first floor of the north wing in the Topeka statehouse Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007.

New furniture, waiting to be moved into renovated offices, sits stacked in boxes on the first floor of the north wing in the Topeka statehouse Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007.

— Workers are putting the final touches on the west wing and House chamber.

But they can't paint over the fact that the Capitol project is getting bigger and more expensive.

The already-over-budget restoration job will need more money to finish.

But Statehouse Architect Barry Greis declined to say how much more until today's meeting of the Capitol Restoration Commission.

In recent years, the tab to restore, renovate and expand the Kansas Capitol has grown significantly.

In September, the price tag was pegged at $172.5 million, and the north wing of the building wasn't even figured into that amount.

When originally envisioned in 2000, cost projections were in the $90 million to $120 million range.

Even so, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle say the project should continue.

"We made a commitment to do this and to do it right. The additional expense that I expect is on the exterior, the stone renovation," Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said.

"It doesn't make sense to do everything right on the inside and let the outside go," Morris said.

House Democratic Leader Dennis McKinney, of Greensburg, agreed that the project is needed.

"We think of this as just a renovation, but we've added a whole new office building of space," McKinney said.

In 2001, the Legislature agreed to build an additional 118,000 square feet of office space underground, Greis said. That wasn't included in the original plans.

And the Legislature added a $15 million parking garage, which wasn't part of the initial plan.

Morris also noted that inflation in construction has been much higher in recent years - approximately 8 percent - than it was when the Legislature approved the project in 2000.

McKinney said once completed in 2011, the Capitol will be much more energy-efficient and user-friendly.

Legislative leaders also have been adamant in defending Treanor Architects, the Lawrence-based firm hired to lead the project.

"They're restoring the grandeur of the building," House Speaker Melvin Neufeld said last spring.

The project has been massive - a top-to-bottom repair, renovation and restoration of a building that was originally constructed between 1866 to 1903.

In addition, the Legislature decided the building would remain open for business during the project, which has increased the expense and time to complete it.








Facts and figures

$90M to $120MOriginal cost estimate for Statehouse renovation in 2000

118,000Square feet of office space added to the project in 2001

$15MCost of a parking garage added onto the project

8%Inflation rate in construction since 2000, according to Senate President Steve Morris

$172.5MEstimated cost for Statehouse renovation in September 2007

2011Expected completion date of Statehouse renovation

$3.2MOriginal cost to build the Statehouse in 1866-1903

Comments

bd 6 years, 4 months ago

Hey, the Architect Joy Coleman shown in the picture is a Lawrence resident!

0

dinglesmith 6 years, 4 months ago

I assume that Mr. Neufeld has requested a special property tax to be imposed on the people of Topeka because they benefit economically from the capitol. Wasn't that his proposal for maintaining Universities? Remember the proposal to impose a property tax on University towns to maintain University facilities? I'm trying hard to figure out why Neufeld doesn't think at Topeka tax to pay for renovations is just a great idea. I guess it's different when it's your office being renovated and not someone else's.

0

dirkleisure 6 years, 4 months ago

It is wholly inaccurate to say estimates from 2000 were $90 million. If you go back to the reporting from April,2000, when the enabling legislation was passed, every news story reports a cost of $120 million.

That isn't a comment on the current estimates, but the public should noit be misled into thinking the 2000 estimates were anthing other than $120 million. When this project was voted on by the Legislature, that is the figure that was universally presented.

0

MCwzMC 6 years, 4 months ago

In addition, many of the costs associated with the project stem from the extra office space that was installed below the capital.

Does anyone know why the state should pay the tremendous costs associated with excavation and installing underground office space when the price of real estate around the capital is dirt cheap. The office space could be put in another building down the street. That would save millions.

0

guesswho 6 years, 4 months ago

Since the Capitol is in Topeka, those who live in Topeka should bear the brunt of all the cost of remodeling.

(sound familiar?)

0

cool 6 years, 4 months ago

the importance of the project should have made those respondible look at presenting phases of work. why was one architect given the entire project when clearly another firm could have made a bid for the garage as an example ?

sounds like the project should now be reviewed in discrete phases of work so that an itemized budget may be reviewed for how efficient the recent work was and how accurate phase costs have been for that work.

0

deskboy04 6 years, 4 months ago

It is important. We should have a really nice building.

0

MCwzMC 6 years, 4 months ago

I agree that the Statehouse should be maintained. But it is BS to say that these costs were not expected. The Legislature intentionally low-balled the price tag when presenting the remolding to the public so that the public would not immediately see a $200 million plus price tag. Such an astronomical figure would invariably raise some eyebrows.

I'm just glad the legislature was so hesitant to spend money fixing the Universities that should (but do not) train this state's future leaders. By that I do no mean that the state's universities do not train some talented students who would make great lawmakers. What I mean is that less than a majority (and I maybe as few as 1/3) of the legislature's members have not even graduated from college. Now it doesn't take a college degree to be a good legislator, but given what little the average voter knows about the representatives they elect (and the self-selecting d**che-bag bias common to aspiring politicians), it is hard to sort through idiots without some signal (a degree) that the representative isn't a complete fool (which s/he still might be).

Any way you slice it, that's a hefty price tag and it certainly won't generate a net positive economic impact for the state.

0

plumberscrack 6 years, 4 months ago

" I think it is funny that the legislature had to be sued to provide money for our education system but they have absolutely no problem with the costs skyrocketing out of control on statehouse renovations." ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You hit the nail on the head why OUR representatives are out of touch with their constituents!

0

booze_buds_03 6 years, 4 months ago

If the Capital represents the entire state of Kansas, why is that it is the only capital (besides DC) that I ever associate with a state. Maybe because I drive by it on I70 all the time. When I think of other states I dont think of their capital building as the representation of the state.

Additionally what is the cut for the Architects, is it generally 10%, or almost 20 million. I think it is funny that the legislature had to be sued to provide money for our education system but they have absolutely no problem with the costs skyrocketing out of control on statehouse renovations.

0

Wilbur_Nether 6 years, 4 months ago

The Statehouse is the most politically, historically, and culturally significant single work of architecture in the state. The exceptional price tag isn't because the renovations are excessive--it's because previous legislatures refused to adequately maintain it. Somehow they thought allowing this building to deteriorate showed "good fiscal discipline." Had it been properly maintained over the years, current expenses would be much, much lower.

We get the government we vote for.

0

jumpin_catfish 6 years, 4 months ago

The temple of the brain sucking monster. HAAAAAAAAA! Government will spend unlimited amounts of money on its iconic structures while some of its citizens suffer and languish. I don't care what it looks like I care about what the people we elect are doing or not doing there. They could meet in an old barn and still accomplish the same things.

0

kawryan 6 years, 4 months ago

It's worth it. Next time just try to spend less on hard hats for the room full of architects.

0

terrapin2 6 years, 4 months ago

This is the center of our State government, and therefore deserves to be remodeled properly. We are Kansans and the Capitol represents the entire State of Kansas! Besides, old buildings like this (I know Europeans would be laughing at this description) are certainly worth restoring and preserving for future generations, not to mention they need to continue serving as a gathering place for the State's political process to take place.

We certainly aren't the only State that is facing high costs to maintain such grandiose and wonderful structures! That's what happens when large buildings like this are 100 years old!

0

spywell 6 years, 4 months ago

Well, we do only have one of them. Another tax I presume?

It amazes me that our founding fathers procured state government to meet every year and pass more and more laws. I would think that we have so many laws on the books, laws upon laws; trampling over each; adding too and taking away from each. Every year a battle of special interest hungry for the tax payers dollar.

Now the house needs further mending and where else will they turn but to us tax payers. Who will forbid them?

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.