By Gene Meyer | Kansas Reporter
FAIRWAY — Toss another $296,000 onto the pile of Kansas Capitol renovation costs.
That’s the price of an elaborate 900-pound chandelier that restorers installed this week under the Capitol dome, said Barry Greis, the Capitol architect on the front lines of what has become a 12-year, $320-million project to restore Kansas’ Capitol building to its 1903 glory.
The new fabricated bronze and brass chandelier, replicated by St. Louis specialists working from old black and white photos, replaces a 19th century original sacrificed to a World War II scrap metal drive in 1942.
The money for the chandelier will not increase the nearly $320 million cost of the renovation, because it’s covered in work previously included in the project’s to-do list in the building’s north wing, Greis said.
The latest installation also promises to buy taxpayers something they haven’t seen for a long while — major visible progress on the whole effort.
“All our interior work will be completed by Sept. 28 this year, and we’ll be taking down all the sheet rock and other construction material in the first through fifth floor,” Greis said.
That, in turn, will allow legislators whose offices were temporarily moved to other state buildings during the past dozen years to return to work under the Capitol dome.
The work will not be done when that happens, however. Renovators still must replace the Capitol’s iconic copper-clad dome and nearby Capitol roof to repair damage discovered late last year. That’s another $10 million, though project officials are planning to recoup the cost by selling 97,000 pounds of scrap copper that will be replaced.
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