Springfield’s Old State Capitol historic site getting a makeover

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The Old State Capitol State historic site in Springfield is receiving $15.1 millionfrom the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, after year of deferred maintenance projects.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) manages the site, and the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) is overseeing the work. The site is now closed to the public and will remain so for the duration of the project.

The scope of work includes removing and replacing the historic site roof, repairing damaged plaster, replacing wood flooring on the main and upper levels, basement waterproofing, restoring the perimeter fence, and upgrading one hydraulic and two traction elevators. In addition, the project includes remodeling and expanding the existing public restrooms, replacing the fire alarm system, and replacing plumbing systems.

Also, funding will be used for abatement of asbestos-containing materials.

This is the second phase of an ongoing preservation project at the site. The first phase focused on restoration of the building’s drum (the structure that supports the dome). The total investment from both phases is $17.6 million.

The Old State Capitol, a reconstruction of Illinois’ statehouse from 1840 to 1876, is the building in which John Jones and Frances Gage worked to expand the meaning of freedom and where Abraham Lincoln worked as a lawyer before the Supreme Court and delivered his famous “House Divided” speech in 1858.

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