BY World's Editorials Writers
Monday, October 22, 2012
10/22/12 at 2:44 AM
Let the sunshine in: It's not always such a good idea.
For decades the Capitol has housed murals and paintings along its walls and corridors. In 2002, a dome was finally added and sunshine illuminated the interior of the Capitol. Sounds good. Not really.
The sunshine that brightens the corridors also damages all those paintings and murals. It shines directly on the art that lines the wall below the dome and reflects off the marble floors and damages art in the corridors.
Now, options are being considered on how to protect those artworks from damage. It's fair to ask why, when the dome was being built, someone didn't anticipate the damage that could be done. But, it's too late for that now.
The dome itself is putting more stress on the almost 100-year-old Capitol. Given its age and the lack of upkeep over the decades, the building is in dire need of repair. About $160 million is needed to repair the interior and exterior and replace outdated plumbing and electrical wiring.
Legislators again next year will consider ways to fund the repairs, including a bond issue.
There are options for the protection of the artwork, including blackout screens. Most options come with costly upkeep problems and the blackout screens would, according to one expert, make the Capitol as "dark as a cave."
The Capitol work needs to be done. It is a symbol of our state and through neglect and age has now become an embarrassment as well as outright dangerous.
Lawmakers and the Capitol Preservation Commission need to coordinate their efforts and get all the work done under one bond issue and as close together as possible, which would save money.
Most important, legislators need to take seriously a way to fund the repairs. It is, after all, a reflection of our state.