The State Capitol is (once again) under construction.
The end of the session and start of summer mean the 40-acre complex is largely cleared of the legislators, lobbyists, protesters and herds of field-tripping schoolchildren who fill the halls and surrounding grounds when the Legislature is at work. This year, the Department of Administration is using the lull in activity to upgrade access for disabled visitors and repair a number of monuments.
Summer projects include adding another Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant walkway in the front of the Capitol, according to a letter sent by the department to the Capitol Preservation Commission. Officials have said the current setup created some accessibility issues during large public events. Crews also are working on fixes to memorials honoring peace officers and civil rights activist Roy Wilkins. More than a dozen additional memorials, including monuments to Minnesota veterans, women’s suffragettes, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Norse explorer Leif Erikson, are slated for restoration work next year.
The cost of the renovations, approved by legislators and the Preservation Commission, will be covered by unspent funds left over from the $310 million Capitol restoration project completed in 2017. That project came in millions of dollars under budget.