Wyoming Capitol Vacated, Restoration Efforts Ramp Up [VIDEO]
It's taken almost six months to get the building cleared out, but the Wyoming Capitol is finally ready for its much-needed makeover.
Movers spent Friday morning emptying out the governor's office, the last agency to vacate the capitol before restoration efforts get into full swing.
"Renovating a building like this while it's occupied is like driving your car while you're trying to work on it," said Suzanne Norton, Architectural Project Manager for the state's Construction Management Division. "We did a partial renovation in the 70's while it was occupied, so it's very fortunate that we are vacating the building."
Norton says those affected by the move have been very cooperative and very willing to adapt to the changes.
"Change is hard for a lot of people and everybody's done a great job," said Norton. "I think that the spaces that we have found for all of the different entities work pretty darn well for everyone."
Even though the capitol doesn't officially close to the public until Wednesday, Norton says crews have already begun ripping out carpet in the basement so asbestos floor tiles can be removed.
"It will be mostly internal (work) to begin with, with selective demolition and abatement work," said Norton. "It'll take us a little while to get the stonework scope of work defined, drawn and bid."
The project, which is expected to be finished in late 2018, will address health and safety issues as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing system deficiencies.
Design plans also include larger committee rooms along with other public amenities, such as the installation of additional restrooms.
"This renovation is so needed," said Norton. "This building has very little smoke detection, it has no fire suppression, no smoke evacuation system, has accessibility issues and all of those things are literally to the point where this building is not all that safe to work in."
The legislature has been setting aside funds for the project for over 12 years.
"The (capitol construction) budget is just north of $100 million, but the money is in the bank," said Norton. "This is one of the most important buildings in the state and it's important that we preserve it."