Renovation starting soon on Alaska Capitol

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Work should begin soon on the first phase of the Alaska Capitol overhaul.

The Juneau Empire reports work will include a seismic retrofit of the building and other renovations.

Alaska Commercial Contractors Inc. won the bid for the $1.7 million contract to perform the first phase of renovation.

“I think some of the demolition is going to take place through June and July, and the restoration’s going to continue on this summer with the idea that it will be completed sometime in October,” said Wayne Jensen, the president of Jensen Yorba Lott Inc., the Juneau firm conducting design work.

Part of the work will include addressing structural deterioration, but the building’s signature pillars won’t go away.

“The marble columns will stay,” Jensen said.

But the upper limestone portion, the portico over the entrance with the words “Alaska State Capitol,” will be removed so concrete beams can be installed.

“The front portico won’t look as nice,” Jensen said. “It’ll look like it’s under construction. And it is.”

The portico will remain unfinished until the second phase of the project. That work will include an exterior makeover, including new windows.

“The idea is to restore it to its original 1931 appearance, or something very close to that,” said Jensen.

He said the public will be impacted by traffic changes on 4th Street to accommodate workers.

“There will be periods where a portion of 4th Street, or maybe all of 4th Street, will have to be closed” for machinery in the area, he said.

Work should be completed by October on the first phase, he said.

The second phase will go to bid later this year or early next year, with work anticipated to start next summer.

The entire project will take two or three years, and work will only be done when the Legislature is not in session. Lawmakers usually meet from January to April, unless a special session is called.

Workers last year installed a ceiling and wood support as a temporary measure after pieces fell off at the building’s entrance.

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