Photo courtesy of the Wyoming Capitol Square Project.

Capital reopens after renovations

By Jim O’Reilly

The gold dome of the newly restored Capitol Building gleamed brightly under the Wyoming sun Wednesday. The “people’s house” reopened amid a full day of celebrations in Cheyenne.

After a series of speeches on the Capitol steps, House Speaker Steve Harshman led a large crowd of dignitaries, guests and onlookers in a countdown to the moment of the official ribbon cutting.

The ceremony marks the conclusion of a four-year, $300 million renovation and expansion of several state government buildings. The Capitol Square project raised eyebrows and produced lawsuits along the way. In the end, work came in on time and on budget.

The renovations include expanded meeting rooms for legislative and other state hearings, upgrades to the infrastructure to bring the building up to code, and historical restorations of the senate and house chambers.

During his remarks, Speaker Harshman ran through the numbers. Of the $295 million the legislature appropriated for the five projects, $116 million went to the renovation of the capitol building itself.

The roots of state government run deep now. Harshman referred to the Capitol Building as the “anvil” of Wyoming’s democracy. Former Governor Matt Mead, who rode hard on much of the legislative wrangling over funding for the project, said the reopening of the Capitol Building was a great day for the state.

Mead, who was displaced by the work to temporary offices in a former mortuary located across the street, said the capitol is the very foundation of Wyoming Statehood.

After the ribbon cutting, state leaders moved away from the doors to allow the public to enter the building for the first time in four years.

Watch Wyoming PBS’s recording of the July 10 ribbon cutting ceremony:



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