Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Justice's Tight Budget Includes Money to Repair Damage from Rainwater

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Justice's Tight Budget Includes Money to Repair Damage from Rainwater

Article excerpt

Gov. Jim Justice's 2017-18 West Virginia budget plan includes proposed tax increases and spending cuts, but few new appropriations. It's notable, then, that the proposed budget includes an $8 million appropriation for repairs to the Capitol dome.

"We've had a water leak, and it basically rains in the dome on a regular basis, Administration Secretary John Myers said Wednesday of damage to the 292-foot-high dome, one of the state's iconic images.

The problem was detected last spring, when workers noticed large areas of peeling paint and other damage to the surface of one of the panels of the interior dome.

Last summer, the state hired consulting engineering firm WDP and Associates, of Charlottesville, Virginia, which spent two weeks in July trying to determine the source of the water damage.

The engineering report concluded that damage to the interior dome panel is being caused by bulk water infiltration caused by failures in the inner drainage system in the exterior dome.

"The volume of water entering the building at this location is ... leading to significant damage in the interior plaster at the Colonnade level, but is also splashing onto the plaster of the inner dome itself, which could lead to more interior damage to the inner dome plaster over time, the report found.

It also found water leakage around upper windows in the exterior dome and found areas of coating on the upper dome that are starting to fail, as well as clay tile shingles on the portico entrances that are cracked.

The structure of the Capitol dome actually consists of two domes, the exterior dome and an interior dome, located 60 feet below.

Some of the design flaws uncovered by the engineering survey date back to the original construction of the Capitol, the report notes, citing correspondence from Capitol Building Commission representative Bonner Hill to architect Cass Gilbert and then-Gov. William Conley.

In a July 9, 1932 letter - about three weeks after the Capitol's dedication - Hill cited water leaks seeping through the plaster of the inner dome, concluding that stone in the upper dome had not been properly set or grouted.

In a letter from 1931, Hill raised issues with preparation of metal cladding for gilding of the dome, stating at one point, "In other words, it is a rush job and does not fit properly. …

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