S: Senate Chamber Restoration Project - Phase I - 2013-14
FC: Senate Chamber Restoration Project | Phase I - 2013-14
1: SENATE CHAMBERS RESTORATION PROJECT Phase I 2013 - 2014
2: In 2013, Senate and House leadership decided to pursue a project to restore the legislative chambers to an earlier period in the Capitol's history. Contractors and restoration specialists performed preliminary investigative work in the fall of 2013 and, in the process, uncovered and restored a full wall panel in the rear of the Senate chamber. In the first phase, contractors removed the off-white acoustic tiles that had covered the Senate chamber for more than 50 years, restored the the plaster walls beneath, cleaned and repaired many of the chamber's stained glass windows, and painted the walls, columns, and trim to match the colors that were found in the chamber during its early days. The restored look of the chamber is based off of a historical photograph taken in the Senate chamber in 1905 as well as architectural investigations and paint analyses performed on the chamber's walls. The first phase was completed in December 2014. The second phase of the renovation will take place during the summer of 2015, when the acoustic tiles on the ceiling will be removed and the skylight hidden under the drop ceiling will be uncovered for the first time in decades. During the third and final phase, the Senate's chandelier will be removed and will be completely rewired in order to meet modern electrical codes. The chandelier will be restored to its original appearance by adding a 6-foot segment of ornately decorated brass that was removed when the drop ceiling was added to the chamber decades ago.
3: The Senators and Senate staff of the 70th General Assembly are privileged to have experienced the complete transformation of the Senate chamber. We fortunate few are proud to work in the Senate chamber each day and are excited to see the ongoing changes that will continue in the summer of 2015 and in the years to come. Thanks go to Spectrum General Contractors and Watkins Stained Glass Studio for their diligent work in the Senate's restoration, to the Denver Art Museum for their assistance investigating the hidden images on the chamber's walls, and to HistoryColorado for their historical expertise and generous financial contributions. February 2015 | Cindi L. Markwell Secretary of the Senate | John McKay Asst. Secretary of the Senate
5: From the 1960's until 2014, the walls of the Senate chamber were covered with acoustic tiles. The tiles had been painted several times over the years, and the sound-absorbing properties were diminished as a result.
6: During the fall of 2013, a team of researchers uncovered portions of the Senate's walls and ceilings in order to perform a preliminary investigation into the chamber's previous appearance.
7: Seen here is the original plaster wall. The original paint color and stenciling remained untouched over the years.
8: In November 2013, contractors removed all of the acoustic tile from one wall panel in the Senate chamber, exposing the plaster wall beneath for the first time in five decades. Doing so gave them a glimpse of the scope of the work that would be in store for them during the following interim. The brown dots seen here are remnants of the dobs of glue used to adhere the acoustic tile to the plaster wall. Contractors employed a number of techniques to try to remove the glue.
10: Here, a portion of the plaster wall has been cleaned and repainted. A paint specialist painstakingly replicates the stenciling found under the acoustic tile. The existing stenciling is darker, while the lighter stenciling is an interpretation of how the panel may have originally appeared.
11: The exposed wall panel remained uncovered during the 2014 legislative session. Immediately following the end of session, the full-scale project began.
12: MAY 2014
13: This is the chamber as it appeared prior to the renovation.
14: Protective plastic covered the floor and gallery seating.
15: The entire chamber restoration project was captured via time-lapse video using a small video recorder mounted to one of the balconies.
16: JUNE 2014
18: Scaffolding was erected in the gallery and along the south wall of the chamber.
20: Each tile was glued in several places.
21: The tiles were removed one by one.
23: JULY 2014
24: Phil Watkins from Watkins Stained Glass Studios was in charge of cleaning and repairing the stained glass panels. During the 2013 interim, Mr. Watkins, along with Spectrum General Contractors, worked to restore the Moffat and Nicholson windows in the Senate.
26: Once removed, the stained glass windows were taken to a temporary workspace located in the former press room. The lead cames that hold the glass in place were strengthened, and the glass was cleaned.
27: In total, eight of the Senate's ten stained glass windows underwent a thorough cleaning in 2014; the other two were cleaned in 2013.
28: A protective film had been applied to glass panes that protected the stained glass from direct exposure to the elements. Over time, that film had deteriorated and flaked away.
29: Here, the windows have all been removed, and protective corrugated plastic has been set in place over the openings.
30: AUGUST 2014 | Individuals from Anderson Hallas Architects and Spectrum General Contractors inspect the work being conducted in the chamber.
32: During the course of renovation, Patrick Tague, the project manager from Spectrum General Contractors, noticed in the House chamber a faint outline of an image on one of the wall panels. Upon further investigation, several more panels in both the Senate and House were found to have similar hidden images. There are no references to the images in the known historical records of the Capitol. These images must have been painted over at some point prior to the time the photograph of the chamber was taken in 1905.
33: Seen here is the hidden image of one of the original oil paintings, possibly a figure of Lady Liberty, that was discovered on the middle panel on the west wall of the Senate chamber. The figure's nose and lips are indicated by arrows.
34: Here an art expert from the Denver Art Museum uses an infrared camera, generously loaned by the museum, to examine the paintings and stenciling beneath the layers of paint.
35: Here, Spectrum's project manager Patrick Tague describes his findings with the paint experts and architect Lance Shepherd from the Division of Central Services.
36: Faint image of Lady Liberty (arrows point to eyes and chin)
37: Faint image of Abraham Lincoln (arrows point to eyes and mouth)
38: Paint experts attempted to uncover one of the images by removing the layers of paint above one at a time. Though they were unsuccessful, the images have been catalogued and will remain protected, perhaps to be uncovered by future restoration efforts.
39: The contractors presented one completed panel, including all touches and finishes, for approval by Senate leadership before proceeding with the rest of the chamber.
41: SEPTEMBER 2014
42: Work continues on the Senate floor . . .
43: . . . and in the gallery. The plaster walls in the gallery would eventually be fitted with metal brackets onto which new acoustic panels would be attached.
44: OCTOBER 2014 Contractors repaired any holes and cracks in the plaster before proceeding with the painting and stenciling.
46: On the Senate floor, the original walls were painted and stenciled. In the gallery, acoustic panels were affixed to metal brackets attached to the original walls and were covered with tinted plaster and then stenciled.
47: For educational purposes, one panel in the Senate gallery will remain exposed in order to show the old acoustic tiles and original plaster wall side-by-side with the new acoustic panels and the metal conduits beneath. | For educational purposes, one panel in the gallery will remain exposed in order to show the original plaster wall and old acoustic tile side-by-side with the new acoustic panel and the metal brackets beneath.
49: NOVEMBER 2014
51: Opposite page: Once the plugs were removed from the gold-leaf covered rosettes, clear Edison bulbs were inserted. Incredibly, the existing electrical wiring, which was thought to be disconnected long ago, was still active, and the bulbs lit up when they were plugged in. For now, the wiring has been deactivated, with the possibility of being updated and reconnected at a later date. This page: Cleaned and repaired, the stained glass windows were set back into place.
53: DECEMBER 2014
54: Here, the scaffolding is removed from the gallery. Contractors remained on-site until mid-December to touch up any paint, plaster, and stenciling that needed attention before the official unveiling on the opening day of the 2015 legislative session.
56: The newly renovated chamber was opened to the public on Wednesday, January 7, 2015, the opening day of the legislative session. President Bill L. Cadman commemorated the official opening in his commencement remarks.
59: The Colorado Senate is fully committed to preserving the history of the State Capitol Building and has been actively engaged in its restoration. The Senate would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Secretary of the Senate, Cindi L. Markwell, Assistant Secretaries John McKay and Max Majors, Calendar Clerk Ryan Breitweiser, and architect Lance Shepherd from the Division of Central Services in creating the Senate's historical materials, including this photo book, that catalog the progress of the Capitol's restoration beginning in 2011.