Capitol dome re-opened after completion of restoration project

The Colorado State Capitol dome and observation deck, closed to the public since 2006, reopened for public tours today, Oct. 2, 2014, following a nearly four year restoration project. The restoration reversed more than a century of weather damage, wear and tear on the iconic cast iron structure and gold dome.

“The dome is truly a symbol of the resilience of Colorado, its people, our past and our future," said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “We too have withstood natural disasters, economic recessions and years of wear and tear, but we continue to come back stronger and better than ever." 

The observation deck, the highest publicly accessible point in the capitol, was closed to visitors in 2006 when a large piece of cast iron fell onto it as a result of more than a century of water infiltration and deterioration. In 2010, the Colorado General Assembly passed a package of funding bills to finance the restoration.

“Restoring and protecting this building is paramount,” said Senate President Pro Tem Lucia Guzman. “This is the people’s house, and perhaps the single most important historic structure in the entire state.”

Once started, it took roughly three-and-one-half years to shroud the dome in scaffolding and complete the restoration. "It was truly an honor to work on the restoration of the Colorado State Capitol dome” said State Architect Larry Friedberg. “Even though the project came in more than a million dollars under budget, quality and safety were never compromised and the highest level of Colorado craftsmanship is on display for all to see." 

In addition to restoring the cast iron exterior, the project also included replacing and re-gilding the copper plates underneath the iconic gold-leafed dome. More than 65 ounces of pure gold was donated to the project from the same Teller County source that produced the original gold that adorned the dome a century ago.

“It is hard to believe that students who are now in the eighth grade have never been able to take a field trip up into this magnificent dome,” said Ed Nichols, CEO of History Colorado.  “I’m thrilled that students, tourists and others with an interest in the state’s history can again enjoy the breathtaking views and learn first-hand about this public gem.”

The first public tour of the dome includes a school group that was involved in fundraising for the restoration project, along with a couple whose anniversary date coincides with the reopening.

People wishing to learn more about the Colorado State Capitol’s history, the restoration project or who wish to reserve a dome tour can visit www.colorado.gov/capitol

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About the program sponsors:  The Department of Personnel & Administration oversees the Office of the State Architect and the Division of Central Services, both responsible for managing the dome restoration project. The Division of Military & Veteran Affairs is responsible for coordinating formal events at the capitol such as this event’s decorations and color guard. History Colorado’s State Historical Fund oversees, manages and distributes funds appropriated for the capitol dome restoration project. The Colorado General Assembly approved a package of bills in 2010 appropriating the money necessary to make this historic restoration possible.

For more information, contact:
Doug Platt, Communications Manager
Office: 303-866-6095, Cell: 303-503-9939