State still needs temporary offices for renovation

2014-08-19T10:15:00Z 2014-08-19T22:27:07Z State still needs temporary offices for renovationThe Associated Press The Associated Press
August 19, 2014 10:15 am  • 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Managers overseeing the renovation of the Wyoming Capitol are reconsidering their plans to move some offices into the adjacent Herschler Building, saying construction work there could make it unsafe.

One alternative is moving the governor, treasurer, auditor and secretary of state into the Jonah Financial Center on Pershing Boulevard about 3 miles east of the Capitol.

The Capitol Building Restoration Oversight Group voted Monday to authorize state officials to negotiate a lease at the Jonah center or another location, if other options emerge.

Still unresolved is where the Legislature will meet. Little America Hotel and Resort and Laramie County Community College were considered but proved unfeasible, said Tom Whetstone, a project manager with HDR Architecture and a consultant on the project.

The two-year, $259 million renovation project is scheduled to start next year. It includes upgrading heating, cooling and fire systems and making structural repairs on the 128-year-old Capitol.

The Herschler Building project includes expanding the tunnel connecting it with the Capitol and erecting a four-story addition.

Consultants originally suggested that offices displaced from the Capitol could be temporarily housed in the Herschler Building, but concluded that might not work.

“We started realizing, particularly in respect to very public efforts, such as the Legislature and the governor’s office, a construction zone is not a very secure or safe place to bring people around the state to visit you,” Whetstone told the Capitol Building Restoration Oversight Group.

The Jonah center is a secure building and is available now, he said. It would require modifications but has the required space, he said.

Other options include the Idelman Mansion and the Kendrick Building near the Capitol.

Whetstone said the Legislature will require 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of space.

Little America and the community college might have enough space for the House, the Senate and committees to meet, but not for the year-round activities of the Legislature.

Whetstone said the Herschler Building remains an option for the Legislature despite the safety concerns.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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