Richard Piatt ReportingIt's moving day at the State Capitol. Actually, every day will be moving day at the Capitol for the next two months.
You could call it a restructuring, or at least a reconfiguration. Relocation. Re-thinking State Government. But really they're just moving at the Capitol.
This week is when the plan to empty out key state offices starts. They're moving from the historic state Capitol to new buildings just to the north.
There's a steady stream of furniture, books, plants, and computers. It’s enough to keep the Systems Manager at the Governor's office busy.
Ray Palmer, Information Services Mgr., Governor's Office: “The big thing is getting the desks moved so we have a place to put all the computers when we get done.”
Inmates on a work release program provide most of the muscle. Today 30 of them were putting in long hours.
Steve Hazlewood, Work Release Mover: "I'd much rather be doing this than just sitting around. It's keeping us busy, it's giving us something to do."
It's a big job, but nothing compared to the main reason for the move: An overhaul of the old Capitol. Many walls will be torn down and then built back. It’s part of the procedure to make the Capitol safer from earthquakes.
David Hart, Capitol Architect: "It would be like comparing that to your skeletal frame. And going in and doing major bone replacement surgery. And replacing that to allow you to be stronger and to be able to withstand more abuse."
It's going to take three and a half years to get this done, a 200-million dollar project in all.
The last public meeting in the old Capitol building will be on June 16th. The state is planning a 'Grand Closing' ceremony at the end of July, on the same day the new buildings will have their 'Grand Openings'.