Complex stained glass restoration under way on Wisconsin Capitol Building
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Work is under way at the Wisconsin State Capitol on an extensive $2.7 million, 14-month renovation to the skylights above the House and Senate chambers, along with the barrel vault skyline above the grand staircase and the panels in the rotunda dome. An assessment by contractors Sharpe Enterprises and Conrad Schmitt Studios Inc. found considerable warping and buckling where the heavy glass has caused the lead framework to contort. In the rotunda, the vertical panels are bowing away from their spaces with a danger of them falling to the floor. The panels also do not have frames, but are resting directly on plaster.
The report says a few ad hoc repairs have been tried at least twice in the past, with copper tie-wires and reinforcing bars employed as temporary fixes. Some repairs took surprisingly rustic forms, including wedging scraps of wood between the panels and the wall to stop the slumping. Once documentation is completed, studio craftsman will strip away the lead cames, either repair or replace individual pieces of glass, and then rebuild the panels. They will also install steel frames to make it easier to remove the panels in the future and alleviate further buckling issues.