Many state capitol buildings that have reached or are nearing their 100th birthdays are showing their age and signs of major structural and other problems.
The Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul is in the middle of major renovations. Officials in Oklahoma have made moves to fix their deteriorating seat of government, although there is a pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of funding the needed repairs.
In Jefferson City, the 97-year-old Missouri State Capitol is facing some serious problems as well. Years of water infiltration have been threatening the building’s foundation, which might "cave in upon itself if something's not done in the not too distant future,” Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard said, according to St. Louis Public Radio.
On Monday, a bipartisan delegation of state officials led by Gov. Jay Nixon toured the State Capitol’s problem spots to make the case to pass bonds to fund the needed repairs, somewhere in the range of $40 million to $75 million.
“We have retired debt from the state and the legislature has passed additional authorization for us to make strategic bond issues,” Nixon said, according to the News Tribune. “Couple that with the historic low interest rates, and the outstanding AAA credit rating we have, and this the most cost-effective time that we can make these necessary long-term investments.”
During the tour, Cathy Brown, the director of facilities management for the Office of Administration, pointed out how water has been "infiltrating the south steps, through the carriage drive, through the facade, through the walls.”
As a result, there are fears that the carriage driveway won’t be able to stand up to the weight of vehicles, according to MissouriNet.com.
The south steps - the building’s grand entrance - will have to be removed and rebuilt, Brown said.
This article originally appeared in Government Executive.