A groundbreaking ceremony was held March 20, 2002, to signal the beginning of the Capitol expansion building project and the overall 20 year Master Plan. Planning and preparation, however, went on for many years before that historic day. Preserving our state’s Capitol is truly an enormous task!
First, two new buildings were constructed behind the Capitol and completed in 2004. These new buildings were actually in the original design for the Capitol by architect Richard Kletting in order to accommodate a growing public. Until the renovation is completed, the Capitol’s employees will be housed in these new buildings named the Senate and the House Buildings. After the Capitol is completed the leadership offices will move back to the Capitol while the operational offices will remain in the Senate and House Buildings.
The main reason for the renovation is life safety issues. The goal of the restoration is to make the Capitol building more safe and stable, such as in case of an earthquake. The restoration project began in September of 2004 and will be completed in January 2008. In order to stabilize the Capitol, base isolators, which are like large shock absorbers, are inserted beneath the building by actually lifting the building off its foundation and putting them beneath it!
When the Capitol reopens in January 2008 it will look very similar to what it did before -- you’ll have to look closely to tell the difference. The most important improvement, however, will be that our People’s House will be much safer for generations of Utahns to come!