Dome of Missouri Capitol closes for 2 years of renovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Dome of Missouri Capitol closes for 2 years of renovation

Aug 10, 2018

Today is the last day visitors to the Missouri Capitol can walk up to the top of the building’s iconic dome until the year 2020.

The top of the dome has a small, circular observation deck with panoramic views of the Jefferson City and the Missouri River. It’s also dirty and needs a lot of repair, so it’s being closed for renovation.

The work is the second part of a two-phase project to completely restore and renovate the century-old Missouri Capitol. The total cost of the work is about $55 million. The figure includes contract design before the work started.

Lawmakers approved the renovations in 2014.

“There’s going to be significant work at this level,” said Cathy Brown, director of Facilities Management, Design and Construction within the governor’s Office of Administration. “We’re going to be repairing cracks and fissures. There’s going to be stone replacement. There’s going to be stone repair on some of the decorative features. We’ll do that in place, [and] some re-anchoring of stone.”

The bronze statue of the Roman goddess Ceres, on top of the dome, will also be removed and restored.

“[We’re] sending her to a conservator to be restored and refurbished, so that we can get her back on top of the dome and looking beautiful,” Brown said. “Right now we’re trying to determine a final date of when we’ll be lifting the statue off. There’s some structural analysis that we still have to do, but we’re hoping mid- to late-September, we’ll remove her, and our goal at this point is to reinstall her the latter part of 2019.”

Visits to the top of the dome also include taking in the Whispering Gallery, which is above the Capitol’s fifth floor. It will remain open throughout the renovation process.

View of the Missouri River from the dome of the Missouri Capitol.
Credit Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

This the final portion of the renovation, which started two years ago. The first phase was completed in late 2016, just in time for the 2017 inauguration of former Gov. Eric Greitens. That portion included repairing water damage to areas near and below the basement, along with replacing and repairing stone steps on the south side.

The renovations can be viewed live via webcam.

The dome is expected to reopen to visitors in early 2020, while all renovations are scheduled to be completed in time for the next gubernatorial inauguration in 2021.

The statehouse isn't the only historic building getting a facelift. Brown said that renovations to the Governor’s Mansion are still in the “design phases,” and that work should begin next spring.

“[It includes] HVAC complete replacement, repair of the sun porch structural columns, replacement of the windows and doors, as well as replacing the sewer line that’s located in the basement,” she said. “Right now, preliminary estimates are at about $3.2 million, so that could come in at a little less or more.”

She added that at this time, they see no need for Gov. Mike Parson and Teresa Parson to move out once work begins.

The residence was built in 1871. The most recent renovations took place in 2008, when the roof was replaced and the kitchen updated.

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