Capitol Projects & Initiatives
The Texas Capitol is more than an historic landmark; it serves as the seat of government for the state. Due to the status, size and age of the building, the Capitol and Capitol Extension require constant attention. The dedicated and skilled staff of the State Preservation Board preserves and maintains the Capitol and Extension both for its current occupants and visitors as well as for future generations.
Carpenters utilize specialized skills and standard trade practices to maintain the historic structure. They care for over five miles of original wainscoting as well as hundreds of doors, window sills, and shutters with special finishes. Carpenters check specialty hinges and hang numerous framed objects including historic artwork.
Housekeepers ensure the more than 1 million gross square feet of the Capitol and Extension remain pristine. They care for special floor finishes, including reproduction carpeting, encaustic tile and linoleum. Housekeeping staff collect approximately 182 tons of recycled material from the Capitol each year, which results in saving 4,368 trees.
Electricians monitor numerous different light fixtures throughout the Capitol Complex. These range from ornate chandeliers in the legislative chambers to the massive outdoor lights. The electricians have reduced energy consumption by installing LED fixtures throughout the Complex.
Plumbers maintain miles of pipe extending through the Capitol and Capitol Extension. Although they contend with the normal office building features such as sinks and toilets, they also oversee enormous storm drains in the Extension that can fill up during torrential rains.
The exterior of the Capitol, including the copper roof, requires regular attention to prevent moisture problems. The waterproofer, like other facilities staff, utilizes a preventative maintenance program to reduce the risk of failure. A computerized work-order system automatically generates work assignments at appropriate intervals.
Curatorial staff maintain thousands of historical items including original or custom-made furniture, early Texas artwork and significant historical objects related to the Capitol. Since the majority of these items are utilized or displayed, staff must provide constant maintenance as well as oversee specialized conservation.
The decorative finishes throughout the building require painters to utilize restoration finishes. The painters address a variety of surfaces ranging from doors, windows, decorative molding, walls and ceilings while taking precautions to protect historic fixtures and flooring.
HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technicians face the challenge of servicing contemporary equipment fitted into historic spaces as well as massive machinery in the modern Capitol Extension. This team balances maintaining a stable environment while keeping the machinery running as efficiently as possible.
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Exterior Preservation Project
2015 - 2016
The Capitol's finely crafted windows retain significant elements of their original wood and plate glass. In 2015, the Preservation Board began to repair and stabilize more than 700 frames and windows. The entire exterior masonry surface will be gently cleaned and thoroughly inspected. Stone will be repaired, and mortar joints repointed as necessary. This undertaking requires an elaborate scaffold and multiplatform design to address each of these irreplaceable pieces.
During a recent inspection of the Capitol's exterior, staff discovered erosion of a mortar joint in the pediment due to water damage. Workers re-pointed the joint using a compatible mix of Portland cement for stability and lime to accommodate movement of stone. Inspections of this and other similar areas of the building take place on a scheduled basis to ensure the stability of the building.
Senate Chamber Carpet
In 2014, a reproduction of the Senate Chamber’s c. 1902 historical wool carpet was loomed and installed to replace the previously well-worn reproduction. Installation including hand sewing together 27 inch strips of carpet. The project did not use tax dollars. Funds generated from parking revenue, gift shop sales, concessions from the Capitol Grill and lease payments paid for the repairs.
Dome Repair and Re-painting
In 2010, scaffolding covered the entire dome and cupolas. Workers painted the dome to match the color of the Texas Sunset Red granite and undertook substantial water-proofing, asbestos removal and metal refurbishing. The project did not use tax dollars. Funds generated from parking revenue, gift shop sales, concessions from the Capitol Grill and lease payments paid for the repairs.