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Lawmakers React to Capitol Renovation Costs

Updated: Tuesday, September 10 2013, 12:57 PM CDT
By now the story of the new West doors at the Illinois Capitol have created a stir, due primarily to their nearly $670,000 cost for just three door ways.

"To be this gaudy, in these economic times," says Republican Senator Sam McCann, "especially with illinois being at the bottom of every category they should be at the top of, it's an insult to the taxpayers."

A budget breakdown from the Office of the Architect of the Capitol shows over $4.7 million going to specialty and historic lighting like this chandelier, over $800,000 to a marble company for washrooms on the 1st through 4th floors, over $700,000 for paint in just 3 rooms, and two line items for door hardware totallying almost $700,000.

Then of course there are the exterior doors, but not all lawmakers feel these expenditures are over the top.

"If they'd have put a cheaper door in, then they'd have had to put a more expensive door in, later," says Republican Representative Raymond Poe, "so if you're looking at a 20 year period, I'd have to see an analysis on that, to see if these doors in the long of run of 20 years might actually have been cheaper, but at this point it does look extravagant."

The North wing of the Capitol is slated to be to renovated next.
Senator McCann tells us he will be asking legislative leaders to push for a tighter budget.
"There are some life safety issues that we do need to tackle, and I understand that part of it," says McCann, "but when it comes to the finishes, when it comes to the acoutrements, we do need to tone it down a little, and do what every family, and small business, and medium sized business, and large business is doing, and that it is do more with less."
But Representative Poe tells us a similar restoration would be a worthwhile endeavor.
"You know there's probably a million people that come through and look at the Lincoln sites, a year," says Poe, "and that's part of one of the sites that we showcase here in Springfield, and it's a benefit for us when we get tourists in here and get them over to the state capitol, not only can you brag about the renovation, but you can brag about the history."
Right around 2 weeks ago, we were given a tour of the West wing by the Architect of the Capitol.
When we asked whether the North wing renovation would cost more or less than the West wing, he said probably more, because costs go up, and the North wing is larger.
Reporting at the Capitol, Mike Brooks ABC News Channel 20.

Video by NewsChannel20.Lawmakers React to Capitol Renovation Costs

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