After more than two years of construction work, the Idaho Capitol reopened to the public Saturday afternoon after a short ceremony on the capitol steps.
Gov. Butch Otter received a key to the building from Idaho Capitol Commission chairman Andrew Erstad. Otter told the huddled crowd the $127 million renovation will serve the public: “This building… has represented the freedom of the people of Idaho," Otter said. "May it represent that for the next hundred years.”
The top Idaho House and Senate lawmakers also had a chance to address the crowd. Senate President Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, said the capitol could connect citizens to their government "This capitol is the common bond that ties us and unites us together," Geddes said. "May this symbol endure as a reflection of our state sovereignty, our independence, and our freedom.”
House Speaker Lawerence Denney said people should be happy with the new interior to the century-old building. “Idaho citizens can take pride in this beautiful historic building, the people’s house," Denney said.
The major addition to the capitol is an expanded basement, called the garden level, that holds offices for each lawmaker and larger committee hearing rooms.
Architect Charles Hummel worked on the renovation. His grandfather helped in the original design of the state capitol. Hummel said the enlarged and restored Idaho Capitol fits the century-old vision. Hummel called the capitol "a workplace in an inspirational setting… flooded with light. The light that is a symbol of the conscience and the spirit of our people.”
After the ceremony, hundred walked up the steps to get their first glimpse of the renovated capitol. IdahoReporter took these pictures of the capitol and the rededication ceremony.
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