Capitol and State Supreme Court Get Renovations

4 years 8 months 4 weeks ago April 18, 2012 Apr 18, 2012 Wednesday, April 18 2012 Wednesday, April 18, 2012 1:11:00 PM CDT in News
By: Karl Roskamp

JEFFERSON CITY - Sounds of drills and saws filled the air Wednesday as the Missouri Capitol gets a $1.5 million face-lift.

A construction crew is repairing the crumbling staircase on the west side of the Capitol building.  The renovations aim to improve safety for people entering the building.

The project doesn't include the addition of a ramp to make the building handicap accessible from the west side.  Bill Biley, who lost this right leg due to complications with diabetes and now uses a wheelchair, says the lack of ramps and elevators makes getting around in general much harder.

"It's very, very difficult," Biley said.  "A lot of places where you'd like to go visit, you can't get in because there are no ramps." There are two entrances for the handicapped at the Capitol; one one the basement level and the other on the first floor.

Built in 1917, the Capitol is showing signs of its age.  There are visible cracks in most of the steps leading into the building and stalactites growing in the basement. The stairways outside in particular have spurred safety concerns for people who are regular visitors.

"There are a lot of tripping possibilities," frequent Capitol guest Tony DeLong said.  He added that the stairways also accumulate standing water when it rains, which increase the chance for slipping.

Across the street, the Missouri Supreme Court building will have a new heating and air conditioning system installed.  The decorative molding on the outside will be repaired too.

Officials expect the construction to take six to nine months, but may take less time if the good weather continues.

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