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Crumbling Capitol needs multi-million dollar fix

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The Minnesota Capitol is the house where, for more than a century, the state's business has been managed. Now that house needs a multi-million dollar, multi-year fix-up or it risks falling into dangerous disrepair.

The Pioneer Press reports the Capitol Preservation Commission, which oversees the 108-year-old State Capitol in St. Paul, wants $241 million to restore and renovate the crumbling structure.

The money would be spent over three years for a variety of projects, including structural work, replacing pipes, creating a new drainage system, and repairing disintegrating plaster walls. The heating, cooling, ventilation, electrical and plumbing systems must be replaced. Security and fire-prevention systems need to be updated. To meet safety codes, the building needs another stairway and more emergency exits. Restoring the architectural gems impressive dome includes waterproofing it and repainting the decorative art.

Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature made a $37.4 million down payment on the project last year. This year, the Capitol's proponents seek a $109 million installment. Next year, they plan to request $94.5million to finish the job.

Work could start this summer with demolition and asbestos abatement in the basement and attic. Parts of the building would remain open throughout the renovation, but the governor, attorney general, legislators and their staffs, along with the Capitol press corps, would be relocated to other spaces on the Capitol campus.

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