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*** UPDATED x1 *** Huge construction project at the Statehouse

Friday, Jan 14, 2022

* Jeremy Gorner at the Chicago Tribune on the new Statehouse remodeling project

It will be the second major construction project on the building in a decade and will force some legislative sessions to find new locations for the next few years, while also being a temporary inconvenience for school groups and other tourists who won’t get to see the historic structure’s full grandeur.

The project also presents a hefty price tag for Illinois taxpayers: $224.3 million.

The renovation is focused on the building’s north wing and will include an underground parking garage and an underground conference center, and a two-level welcome center for visitors.

In addition, there will be updates of everything from heating and cooling systems to plumbing and ventilation.

I looked around a bit for renderings and couldn’t find anything. If you have some, please send them to me. Thanks. Kinda curious about that conference center and the welcome center.

…Adding… Center Square has a renderings slide show at the top of this article. Pretty cool.

* The SJ-R ran a similar story last year

But [Capitol architect Andrea Aggertt] said the public needs to keep in mind that the north wing renovations, which will employ hundreds of construction workers over the 2 1/2 year life of the project, will include historical details costing much more than a typical home or building renovation.

“We don’t have a retail building or a hospital,” she said. “We have a statehouse that we need to be proud of, and therefore the quality of the materials that we put into our one and only statehouse need to reflect the quality and the craftsmanship that happened in the late 1880s, when the building was built.”

A State Journal-Register columnist’s story in 2013 about $670,000 spent on copper-clad wooden doors at three west entrance doorways resulted in a wave of attention from the news media and the public. In response, then-Gov. Pat Quinn called the work “excessive” and compared it to the Palace of Versailles in France.

State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, wasn’t in the General Assembly at that time but said the west wing project is necessary and will contribute to the tourism industry in Springfield and central Illinois.

* On a related note

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced $9.6 million in grant funding to support construction pre-apprenticeship programs, which will help create a qualified talent pipeline of diverse candidates as part of the groundbreaking Illinois Works initiative. This grant is being awarded to 23 organizations that will provide pre-apprenticeship training and wraparound supportive services to more than 1,000 participants, the vast majority of whom are underrepresented in the construction industry.

Comprehensive pre-apprenticeship programs can help participants gain admission to apprenticeship programs, which provide a greater opportunity to obtain employment in the construction trades. According to a 2020 report from the Illinois Department of Labor, only four percent of Illinois apprentices are women and only 29 percent are people of color. By supporting pre-apprenticeship training programs that primarily serve these groups - while also providing the needed wraparound supports for participants to succeed - these grants will help participants break barriers to enter into apprenticeships while simultaneously creating a sustainable pipeline of qualified, diverse candidates for the future economy.

Grant recipients

Bethel Family Resource Center, Chicago Heights $400,000
Chicago Women in Trades, Chicago $500,437
Children First Fund, Chicago $250,000
Community Assistance Programs, Chicago $493,794
Community Development Institute, Chicago $500,000
EDDR Foundation Chicago, Chicago $500,000
EDDR Foundation Rockford, Rockford $400,000
Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse, Evanston $535,514
HIRE 360, Chicago $550,000
Hispanic American Construction Industry Association, Chicago $500,000
IL Foundation of SkillsUSA-VICA, Pekin $500,000
Lumity, Chicago $170,673
Macon County, Decatur $499,832
Metropolitan Family Services, Chicago $500,000
Quad County Urban League, Aurora $397,978
Revolution Workshop, Chicago $400,777
Safer Foundation, Chicago $500,000
Sista Girls & Friends, Inc, Decatur $500,000
South Suburban Community Services, South Holland $436,000
Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville $240,000
St. Paul Church of God in Christ Community Ministries, Chicago $250,000
Tools Up Foundation, Chicago $326,587
YBLC, Inc, North Chicago $250,000

*** UPDATE *** I should’ve included this Cook County Record story since we’re talking about infrastructure

With potentially billions of tax dollars every year on the line, the Illinois Supreme Court will soon decide whether Illinois’ so-called transportation lockbox constitutional amendment can be used to force Cook County and other local governments in Illinois to spend money from local transportation-related taxes on actual transportation projects, or if the money can still be used to fund county operations.

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, attorneys for a coalition of road and transportation contractors squared off against attorneys for Cook County, presenting oral arguments over how best to interpret and apply the language of the Illinois constitution’s Safe Roads Amendment to money raised under certain taxes imposed by Cook County and other local governments.

On one hand, a coalition of road construction contractors assert the amendment, formally known as the Safe Roads Amendment, states plainly that transportation-related tax money raised by Illinois governments must be actually used to pay for roads, bridges, mass transit, passenger railroads, airports and other transportation infrastructure. […]

On the other side, Cook County says the amendment’s language is not as clear as the road builders let on, and should be read to apply to Illinois state government alone, and not units of local home rule government, like Cook County.

…Adding… Another one that should’ve gone here

Illinois will receive $1.4 billion to help upgrade its deteriorating bridges under the federal infrastructure law approved in November.

The state’s Democratic congressional delegation said Friday that the funding over five years will include $274.8 million in Fiscal Year 2022.

The delegation says in a news release that Illinois is home to “more than 2,374 bridges in poor condition.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments »
  1. - Sir Reel - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 11:36 am:

    There’s already what is supposed to be a Capitol complex visitor center west of the Stratton building. Guess that wasn’t such a good idea


  2. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    ===There’s already what is supposed to be a Capitol complex visitor center west of===

    Walked by it a million times. Never been in it.


  3. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 11:46 am:

    The visitors center west of the Stratton is about the size of a bathroom.
    This project is talking about a real visitors center.


  4. - Benjamin - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 11:51 am:

    Reminds me of what they did to the east entrance to the Ohio Statehouse. It’s a better entrance for groups and people who need ADA features, but allows the building to preserve the grand entrances from the other faces. Looks like a sensitive design.


  5. - fs - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 11:55 am:

    The renderings remind me of the visitor entrance to the US Capitol (albeit on a significantly smaller scale).

    I wonder if (hope?) some of these plans and ideas include the acres of gravel parking on the other side of Monroe Street. That’s a lot of empty, ugly space right at the front door of this project.


  6. - Annonin' - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 12:07 pm:

    This is actually 3rd phase which saw the House & Senate chambers and south wing finished in ‘07, west wing ‘13 and north wing. A lot of cost probably goes to elimination of north drive which was always seen as a security nightmare. The underground facilities will be interesting.


  7. - Arsenal - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 12:28 pm:

    ==I wonder if (hope?) some of these plans and ideas include the acres of gravel parking on the other side of Monroe Street. That’s a lot of empty, ugly space right at the front door of this project. ==

    No clue, but hopefully underground parking at least eliminates the need for some of those spaces?

    Not sure what I’d want in that lot’s place, but it’s a cryin’ shame that the area around the Capitol isn’t better developed.


  8. - Been There - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 12:42 pm:

    I know they are only renderings but they better pencil back in the picnic tables on the NW lawn of the lawn. And actually add some more.
    I also agree about the parking lot north of Monroe. At a minimum pave it and landscape it.


  9. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 1:14 pm:

    DuPage County spends their transit tax on the county jail.


  10. - NIU Grad - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 1:19 pm:

    “two-level welcome center for visitors”

    Finally. The capitol and the museum are the top two destinations, and this is what many of our neighbors are already doing. I’m just curious to see how this will look…


  11. - NIU Grad - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 1:24 pm:

    Oh, and I really hope there is a gift shop…just saying.


  12. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 1:38 pm:

    Underground parking garage? Any details on which street the entrance and exit will be on? Should both use the North Exit of the traffic circle, maybe we’ll finally be able to turn right on red on Eastbound Monroe to Second Street.


  13. - Leslie K - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 1:47 pm:

    ===Oh, and I really hope there is a gift shop…just saying.===

    Definitely needs a gift shop. Those renderings look pretty nice. I had no idea there was a welcome center near Stratton. I thought the desk just off the rotunda was it.


  14. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 1:53 pm:

    ==The visitors center west of the Stratton is about the size of a bathroom.==

    It always reminds me of an 80s-era rest area.

    And sadly 40 years ago there were still homes and the old St. Agnes Church on the west side of College that were still there. Then the wrecking ball for those came a few years later. Only Boone’s building survived.


  15. - Senator Clay Davis - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 2:04 pm:

    Honestly I’m surprised it’s only $224 million.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 2:20 pm:

    I can’t be more thrilled at the renovation, the renderings are ridiculously cool.

    Illinois is a world class place, we need to have our Capitol be a destination not unlike the Lincoln sites, Library and Museum, etc.

    All about it.


  17. - Phineas Gurley - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 2:26 pm:

    Easier access to the bunker?


  18. - Abu Iskandr - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 2:59 pm:

    Too bad they didn’t redo the Armory first, allowing the Senate to work there during this renovation. But glad to see that this opens up our great Capitol Building to more and more people.


  19. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Jan 14, 22 @ 3:28 pm:

    The existing visitor center is basically a drop off point for tour busses so they don’t block traffic on Monroe.


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