Hundreds of Kansans gathered at the Statehouse today (WED) to celebrate the end of the building’s 13-year-long restoration project. The event coincided with Kansas Day, the state’s 153rd birthday. School children, members of the public and former and current state officials attended the ceremony. Historians learned that the Kansas Statehouse was never formally dedicated after its initial completion, so Governor Sam Brownback took the opportunity to unveil a plaque and officially dedicate the Kansas Capitol.
The restoration work cost more than $300 million and was paid for with state bonds.
Hundreds of Kansans gathered at the Statehouse to mark the end of a 13-year-long restoration project and formally dedicate the building. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the celebration coincided with Kansas Day, the state’s 153rd birthday.
The event included music, historical reenactors and Kansas-themed cakes.
Kansas Historical Society Director Jennie Chinn said the Statehouse was an outgrowth from the creation of Kansas.
“The people who populated early Kansas had a vision of what we as a people could be. And they built that vision into this Statehouse,” said Chinn.
The Senate’s top Democrat, Anthony Hensley, said the crowd should be grateful to the craftsmen who originally built the Statehouse, including the nine workers who died on the project.
“Who built this historic and everlasting monument to our democratic form of government,” said Hensley.
Republican House Speaker Ray Merrick pointed out that while costly, the final product is impressive.
“We did have a lot of grumbling about cost and is it ever going to get done. And we stand here today with the finished product and all I can say is wow,” said Merrick.
The top-to-bottom rehab of the building cost more than $300 million, financed through bonds.