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Renovation Of House, Senate Chambers Wrapping Up

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - A roughly $370,000 renovation of the state’s House and Senate chambers is wrapping up, providing modern upgrades while staying true to the Capitol’s Victorian past.

Crews were finishing work this week on the summer project at the domed landmark with balanced wings in downtown Lansing. They installed new carpet, along with new computer wiring in the floor, telecommunications cabling and electrical adapters. Equipment also has been installed to make it easier for the hearing impaired to monitor legislative sessions.

Facilities director Steve Benkovsky told the Lansing State Journal that officials sought to replicate original carpet patterns from when the building was dedicated in 1879 by analyzing old photos.

“We think the colors are as accurate as possible, but we know for certain the design is right,” he said.

Benkovsky said the new carpets, which replace shopworn, duct-taped flooring, don’t incorporate the state seals that used to appear at the front of each chamber. Those weren’t part of the original carpet, he said, and it would have cost more to work them into the pattern.

Crews were also wrapping up work replacing the west side of the Capitol’s roof, and the cost of that project was estimated at $1 million. The new roof includes copper panels.

Lawmakers return next month after a summer break.

Officials say the renovations are the largest in 20 years. A major restoration project was launched in 1989 and the Capitol was rededicated in 1992, when it was also designated by the National Park Service as a National Historic Landmark.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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