Major renovations needed for Michigan Capitol

Feb 11, 2017

The Michigan Capitol's age is showing

Everything from electrical to plumbing, mechanical to fire suppressions systems is in need of upgrade at the Capitol building.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) —  The Michigan State Capitol and its workers are exposed to potential danger as the result of aging infrastructure in the century and a half-old building. Water and moisture damage has eaten away at mortar that holds together sections of original brick walls in the basement. Steel beams that hold up old steam pipes are rusting.

Rob Blackshaw, the Capitol's Director of Facility Operations said a potential hazard is also in the basement where the building's old electrical equipment is housed to provide power. Any system failure presents the possibility of causing serious injury...or worse...to anyone in the area.

Above outdated electrical equipment are water valve lines in need of replacing. If the lines were to fail and expose the electrical lines to water, it could lead to the Capitol being shut down for months and be costly to replace.

The first and last major infrastructure repair project was almost 30 years ago and significant system updates have not occurred since. 

"It's like having a brand new suit with a dirty shirt, or you know, you have heart disease or whatever, the building's infrastructure needs help," Blackshaw said.

Michigan lawmakers plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that would address the problems.