After more than a decade of planning and four years of construction at the Wyoming Capitol Square, JE Dunn completed the renovation and expansion of the attached Herschler Building and a new below-grade Central Utility Plant (CUP). Despite the Capitol’s many renovations and remodels in its 133-year lifetime, this was the first full-scale restoration in its history that required structural repairs, improvements to life safety and accessibility, and historical restoration of hidden or damaged finishes. Through careful coordination and collaboration, the project team evaluated approaches to accomplish each of these vital needs while maintaining as much usable square footage as possible.
On a project this complex, the overall team approach was an integral part in maintaining excellent project execution. From the onset, the team collectively embraced the guiding principle to do what was best for the project. Not only did it require accommodating a massive construction crew, the project also involved arranging accommodations for more than 300 state employees on site during construction within the Herschler Building. “The Herschler Building project was phased in a way that allowed for half of the building to remain occupied while the other half was renovated and then rebuilt along with the addition and new CUP,” said Project Manager Alex Delimont. Once the first phase was complete, employees moved into the new half, while construction commenced on the second phase, which included demolition of the existing CUP. Extra precautions including night and weekend work were needed for critical tie-ins to both the structure as well as mechanical and electrical systems. “By performing some critical work outside of employees’ working hours, we were able to complete everything without impacts to state operations," said Delimont.
One of the biggest challenges of working in an historic building full of character is preserving the architecture and pieces of history often hidden in its hallways. The team restoring Wyoming’s Capitol discovered historic items previously covered up by years of paint, bricks, and other changes that were made to create more spaceas the legislature grew. These items included hand-painted murals on vault doors, windows infilled by brick, and original paint from when the Capitol opened. “It’s not every day you uncover pieces of history, which is one reason this project was so special,” said Delimont.