For preservationists, there’s nothing more intriguing than a beautiful old building with construction fences surrounding it. And when that building happens to be the Colorado State Capitol, arguably the state’s most significant historic icon, it is nearly impossible to walk by without wondering what’s going on.
To satisfy the public’s curiosity—and to give me an excuse to get behind the construction barriers—the Colorado Historical Society’s State Historical Fund (SHF) is proud to announce that the $30 million multi-year historic rehabilitation and life safety upgrades project for our beloved State Capitol building is well underway!
A fire command center has been installed, the backbone wiring for fire and life safety systems has been connected vertically through all seven floors of the building, and many of the planned fire safety devices have been installed. Additionally, all of the beautiful marbles—designed to complement the original materials—and bronzes have been ordered. The new stair tower (the reason for those construction barriers) is under construction in the northwest quadrant of the building, and a homeland security assessment has been finished. Three more stair towers are planned to be completed over the next few years, along with plans to complete a full historic structure assessment, which is intended to be used to guide future preservation treatments.
As the groups of schoolchildren and visiting summertime tourists will attest, the State Capitol is very much open for business during construction. Visitors can tour most of the building from the basement through the third floors, except the northwest quadrant of the building, which is undergoing major rehabilitation with the addition of the new stair extension. Senate chambers and the old Supreme Court chambers are also open for viewing. Visitors can look up into the famous gold dome, but won’t be able to climb to that level, or use the outside rotunda or observation deck, for several more months. The expanded Museum and Visitor Information Center in the building’s attic will eventually tell the fascinating story of the building, complete with displays of some recently unearthed artifacts from the building’s subbasement.
Thankfully, for those curious history buffs, the construction barriers in the northwest quadrant of the building include convenient viewing windows, so visitors can see the work as it happens. Tours of the building are running as usual, so bring your camera and visit your State Capitol today.
For more information about the State Historical Fund’s six-year, five-phase, life safety and restoration effort at the Capitol Building, feel free to contact the SHF Outreach Specialists at 303.866.2825.