The University of Virginia's rotunda, designed by Thomas Jefferson, is undergoing a $50.6 million renovation to repair and restore the historic dome and exterior. The seven iron tension rings, some dating to Jefferson's era, that keep the dome from spreading outward were corroding, and the crumbling marble capitals atop the portico columns had to be draped with black netting to protect people below.
Workers are removing the badly rusted roof and replacing it with copper that eventually will be painted white. Scaffolding covers much of the structure, with guards posted through the night to keep students from climbing to the roof. The skylight in the oculus of the dome room will be replaced with more historically appropriate fenestration.