Legislative Service Office

The Wyoming Capitol Renovation Project has its share of critics, but at least one long-time member of the legislature who is no longer in office thinks it's the right thing to do.

Former Rep. Ross Diercks, a Democrat who represented the Lusk area in the state house  from 1992-2010, gave his former colleagues an ''attaboy" on the project when he addressed the house on Tuesday.

Diercks told house members that he "knows you are facing some criticism both externally and internally over what you're doing with the capitol building."

Diercks went on to thank lawmakers for keeping ''our home as upstanding as possible."

The renovation project has been widely criticized for its $300 million cost at a time when Wyoming faces sagging revenues because of low energy prices and has been forced to make cutbacks in a number of programs and agencies.

Some critics also argue the state has opted for a "Taj Mahal" approach to the project when a bare bones approach that would bring the building in line with safety codes could have been done for half the price or less.

Supporters argue renovation projects like this only happen once every century or so, and should not be shortchanged because of temporary budget issues.

Some lawmakers also say the existing building hurts the political process and shortchanges the public because committee rooms are too small to accommodate people wanting to observe meetings and comment on issues.