State officials and members of the public gathered in front of the Wyoming Capitol Thursday to officially break ground on the construction phase of the Capitol Square Project.

"This has not been an easy process," said Governor Matt Mead. "There has certainly been ups and there has been downs, but I think collectively there has been great perseverance to make sure we get to this important point today and it's a very special day."

"We have been saving for this capitol for more than 15 years and it's a vision of many people," said Senator Tony Ross, Co-Chairman of the Capitol Building Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group.

"There are naysayers out there, I have arrows in my back to prove it, but the reality of it is is that when this is done people are going to say wow," Ross added.

The $219 million project centers on the rehabilitation and restoration of the capitol, the rehabilitation and expansion of the adjacent Herschler Building, the remodel and expansion of the tunnel that connects the buildings and the replacement, relocation and expansion of the central utility plant serving five state buildings.

"The capitol has never had a comprehensive renovation in its 125 year history," said Ross. "One of the key directives of this project was to keep it on budget and we have done that."

"The project will preserve this great symbol for our state and for present and future generations," said Mead. "It will provide essential safety features and improve public access to the legislative process."

Construction on the project is expected to be completed by spring 2019.

"This building has a long, rich history with much more history yet to be written," said Mead. "When finished, the restored capitol will be a place to gather at and take pride in for a century ahead."