Capitol Renovations Underway This Week

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The Iowa Capitol dome is set for major renovations that began this week.

“We are excited to start the project,” said Mark Willemssen, Iowa Legislature Facilities Manager. 

The renovation budget is slated for just under $10 million, and Willemssen expects everything to be finished by late summer of next year.

The renovations started out as replacing a leak in the dome, but after a year delay they decided to go ahead with all of the 20-year maintenance. Over the next year, construction crews will repaint windows, inspect and replace any bricks, resurface stones, and repair sheet metal necessary to the structural integrity of the dome. 

Another major issue Willemssen hopes to resolves is reducing the amount of moisture that collects in the dome. Willemssen says that moisture freezes, thaws, then refreezes again, which causes major damage to the structure. The solution includes installing a proper ventilation system to remove moisture.

One of the biggest changes visitors will notice when renovations are complete is being able to better see the dome. 

"The lighting has been graciously donated for all the exterior lighting. That will light up the exterior face of around the building,” says Willemssen. “We have to put in the infrastructure to make those LED lights work. So that is also included in this project."

Willemssen said the new LED lighting system will give the facility a more natural look.

He insists visitors will be able to see more details in the building, like brown and white bricks within the facade.