The Wyoming Tribune Eagle has an article discussing the need for updates and repairs to the Wyoming capitol building. These repairs are estimated to be from $30 – $60 million and would include an updated heating and cooling system, pipes, and electrical wiring. Most, if not all, would agree these are necessary updates in older buildings, and the capitol building is 114 yrs old.
However, I think there are some questions this article has left unasked…. These questions may have been discussed previously, and if so I would truly be interested in finding those discussions and examining them. The first question is regarding the heating system, according to the Tribune it is an outdated steam-heating system. While true that particular style of heat is considered out-dated the question should be; does it still work well in the winter months? Just because something is no longer offered on the market does not mean it needs to be replaced by a new model. Second is regarding the A/C being “nearly nonexistent”, this seems to be more clear in that the system is not doing the job, and the building is not being cooled properly in summer months.
The article then states that the electrical wiring and pipes are in need of constant repair, this may be true, but is it too much to ask for a more clear idea of what ‘constant’ is and the average yearly expense of these repairs? A comparison of repair costs versus update costs is very helpful and would go a long ways towards winning tax-payer support. Also missing in the capitol is a sprinkler system for fire suppression; many are likely to be very supportive of having a sprinkler system put in as we would not want to see the capitol burn to the ground when it could have been prevented.
In addition to the cost of repairs to the capitol building, there is the need to find space to relocate existing staff and legislature for the duration of construction. The first suggestion offered is to build an entirely new building of offices to house the legislature and staff. This seems absurd for two reasons. First, is it really possible there are NO other vacant buildings in Cheyenne that could be used to house existing staff and a part-time legislature? Second, this seems a ridiculously long delay for needed repairs while we wait for a new building to be constructed. Not being from a construction background I am probably missing something – but I wonder, is it truly necessary to house people outside of the building while repairs are done? Is it not possible to compartmentalize the construction piece by piece? Closing down separate sections as the work is completed? For example, the Wyoming legislature is only part time and their portion of the building could be easily done when they are not in session. It would of course create havoc for those who would need to shift their offices during construction – but surely not any more havoc than moving to another building…
This commentary is not meant to argue against any necessary repairs to a historic building. The capitol building is a beautiful center piece in downtown Cheyenne. Instead, hopefully, the citizens of Cheyenne and all of Wyoming will ask for a more detailed explanation of why each update or repair is needed. As citizens and taxpayers we all deserve to know why and how our dollars are spent. Hopefully the discussions by the legislature themselves are much more detailed – and hopefully they are sharing those details with their constituents. If not then perhaps we should begin calling, writing, and emailing them with questions.
* All facts re: age of building and necessary updates were gathered from article found at this link: