Archive for Friday, December 23, 2011

Kansas preparing to replace Statehouse roof, dome

December 23, 2011


— Kansas is preparing to replace the copper roof and dome of its Statehouse, an addition to an ongoing renovation of the building that has pushed the project's projected cost to $319 million.

Fourteen companies have applied for permission to bid on the roof and dome work, and only one is headquartered in Kansas, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. The work is expected to cost more than $21 million, and state legislators authorized bonds to cover the expenditure earlier this year.

The project has received intense criticism over projected costs that are more than triple some early estimates and that still don't include completion of a basement visitor's center or new landscaping for grounds scarred by construction work. But results often have been impressive, with offices, committee rooms and hallways returning to rich colors and ornate patterns of decades past.

The state hadn't initially planned to replace the aging copper on the roof and dome and was repairing leaks, cracks and brittle joints. Legislators rethought that decision after water from melting snow in January leaked into the House chamber.

Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, said it made sense to go ahead and replace the roof with a giant construction crane already in place for other work.

"After going through the restoration, we realized there was a lot of work that needed to be done there," said Morris, a Hugoton Republican.

The only Kansas firm hoping to bid on the work is Stevenson Co., of Topeka. Another firm, the Garland Co., lists a Lawrence office, but it said it has only a single sales representative there. Only Stevenson has been involved in work on the Statehouse previously.

We try and accept participation from any contractor, local or national, that has the qualifications to do the work," said Jim Rinner, project manager for JE Dunn Construction, the Kansas City, Mo., firm overseeing the renovation. "So much of the work we're doing on the Statehouse is very specialized, so we have to go far and wide to find people, and the goal is to have the highest quality and the best cost throughout."

The Statehouse renovation started in 2001 and interior work is scheduled to finish in fall 2012, with the rotunda and north wing sealed off behind drywall this year as work has concentrated there. The state expects replacement of the roof and dome to be finished in 2013.

The project is giving the Statehouse modern heating, air conditioning, water and fire safety systems; providing better rooms for meetings to make them more accessible to the public and giving legislators less-cramped office space.

Early estimates put the cost of the entire renovation at between $90 million and $120 million, though that was before legislative leaders added an underground parking garage and approved an expansion of the basement for new offices. The state also discovered unexpected needs for repairing the exterior stone.

Morris said the renovations wouldn't be complete without a new copper dome, which will start out shiny like a penny, then quickly turn to a "rich brown" before fading into its familiar green hue over several decades.

"It will be a very beautiful dome, and people will be pleased," Morris said.


Acey 6 years, 5 months ago

"It will be a very beautiful dome, and people will be pleased," Morris said.

Oh, right, and did you know that Senate President Steve Morris is A HUGOTON REPUBLICAN?

Kat Christian 6 years, 5 months ago

Why don't they put that money into job creation? Who cares about that flippin dome when there are so many people out of work. Its not like Topeka is the cultural center of Kansas in the first place or people specifically take the time to tour the place. What a waste of money just to impress each other. Egos gone amuck!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Do you think the replacement will just spontaneously happen? It'll people doing jobs that get it done.

So, you can question whether it's the best type of jobs to create, or whether the state is getting a good deal for the money spent, but this does, indeed, create jobs.

George_Braziller 6 years, 5 months ago

Why the insults?

If you had bothered to check the link you'd see I was asking a legitimate question. Last week it was reported that the cost would be $10.3 million. There isn't any explanation as to why a week later the price tag is now $21 million.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 5 months ago

How about if we replace the building's contents. That would definitely be a capitol improvement.

lheck 6 years, 5 months ago

This clearly hasn't received ENOUGH INTENSE CRITICISM. How egregious for Kansas taxpayers. Total BS.

Tom McCune 6 years, 5 months ago

Zahner Sheet Metal is the company for this job. They are KCMO, but they have done amazing sheet metal work all over the country including de Young museum in San Francisco and the RLDS Temple in Independence. I don't work for them or have anything to do with them. I just know their work and it is pretty spectacular.

riverdrifter 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree on Zahner: their reputation precedes them. It's also good that they contracted with J E Dunn, also of KC Mo. Don't care where they're from, they do good work.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 5 months ago

the Kansas statehouse is the most significant building in Kansas from both an architectural and a political perspective. There are only two problems. One, why was the original cost estimate for repair so far off? Two, why do the republicans defer maintenance for 100 years? It was the lack of ongoing maintenance that led to the current state of repair/disrepair.

billbodiggens 6 years, 5 months ago

"But results often have been impressive," ???!!! Where is the name behind this editorial statement?

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 5 months ago

I would just like to add that it is absolutely ridiculous that in an awful economy where the state can't afford to meet its commitments to the poor, the aging, the disabled, education, welfare of children, infrastructure, etc that our state government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to give themselves a more aesthetically pleasing work environment. Some of this work needed to be done but the majority of the costs have gone to repairing and restoring purely aesthetic parts of the building. Spending money on this while so many people are jobless and starving is wrong.

Welcome to Kansas, we are as stupid as you think.

Stuart Sweeney 6 years, 5 months ago

Don't bet on it--King Sam can still slash it and as stupid as he is there is a high probablity he will!

riverdrifter 6 years, 5 months ago

Yeh, but they'd look from the outside in(bred).

Keith 6 years, 5 months ago

Why don't they sell the naming rights to the Capitol to defray the costs. They could call it the Americans for Prosperity Dome.

verity 6 years, 5 months ago

Wonderful idea! Surprised no one thought of it before.

LHS56 6 years, 5 months ago

Another huge fee for the contractor and architect! Someone sure missed the estimated cost and scope of work for this project. So Treanor makes another two million. Not a problem. Just build another high rise in downtown Lawrence. If we could only get the Neighborhood Associations to oppose improvements to the capital building it would stop the project cold.- Justas they have stopped any progress in Lawrence

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm surprised that no one has suggested this yet:

Why not use gold instead of copper? That would be a very good excuse to raise taxes!

Plus, it won't discolor in only a few decades.

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