Minnesota Capitol repairs will fix falling marble and leaky dome windows

Some major repairs are coming for the 107-year-old Minnesota state Capitol building in St. Paul.

The Legislature approved about $60 million to begin work on the massive project, but it’s going to take lots more. A $221 million bonding bill for repairs was defeated early in the session.

Capitol reporters are feeling some construction-related vibrations in the building today. The Strib’s Rachel Stassen-Berger tweeted:

“The construction in and around the state Capitol has caused such vibration that my basement office now sounds like the inside of an MRI.”

The Fargo Forum says a couple of projects are under way:

So far, two major projects have begun.

One is removing blocks of marble that could fall off the outside of the Capitol and hurt or kill a visitor below. The biggest chunks have been removed, with work continuing to repair water damage, mostly in the southeast part of the main Capitol entrance.

Dome repair is the second project.

A marble dome, for all if its beauty, is lousy roofing material. Water easily leaks through joints, so architect Cass Gilbert designed a three-dome system to provide a drainage system under the marble outside. That drainage system has been updated, and a humidity-control system installed.

Excess humidity and just plain running water have damaged walls and even paintings under the dome.

Twelve leaky windows at the dome’s base are to be replaced yet this year, costing $1.3 million and completing most of the dome work.

And it’s not just the Capitol building under construction siege: Workers are busy on nearby streets building the Central Corridor light rail line. It takes some creative detour routing to find one’s way in the area.

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