Currently Reading

Wyoming Capitol Square renovation project is all about the details

Reconstruction Awards

Wyoming Capitol Square renovation project is all about the details

The Wyoming Capitol Square project has won a Gold Award in BD+C's 2020 Reconstruction Awards.

By David Malone, Associate Editor | December 14, 2020
Wyoming Capitol Square at night

Photo: Dan Schwalm Photography

Originally built in 1886, the Wyoming Capitol Square has recently undergone a renovation project of the 129,539-sf Historic State Capitol, the 360,862-sf Herschler Office Building, and an underground connector gallery that serves as a tunnel for the Capitol Square. 

The $300 million project replaced outdated building systems, added critical life safety infrastructure, and addressed public space needs, especially for larger meeting rooms. The Herschler Building was remodeled and expanded by 56,000 sf to house state agencies and elected officials. The atrium on the north side of the building was removed to improve and restore views to the Capitol.

The Capitol Extension, a below-grade building that connects the Capitol to the Herschler Building, has been expanded by 28,000 sf to accommodate public space needs that could not be met in the Capitol. These spaces include large public meeting rooms, a 238-seat auditorium, a visitor’s center, and a student learning center. 


Wyoming Capitol House of Representatives ChambersPhoto: Dan Schwalm Photography.


A new below-grade utility plant, which serves five state buildings, was also included to replace the aging central utility plant originally located in the connector. In order to move the MEP systems below grade, existing rubble, masonry, and concrete footings needed to be repaired. The build team coordinated and installed over 600 micropyles with shotcrete foundations to stabilize existing foundations and allow MEP systems to run below footings without destabilizing them. 

The project’s attention to detail sets it apart from many other renovation and restoration efforts. Many small details were restored and recreated by hand. 


Hand restored paintings in the Wyoming Capitol


For example, previous restoration efforts painted over many decorative paintings and details within the building. The build team wanted to restore these details to their previous luster. This meant removing the paint layer by layer to expose the original decorative paint schemes and colors, and then recreating and restoring them. An original painting at the top Capitol Rotunda (above) was slowly revealed and then hand painted to recreate the original work. 

Murals that had previously been painted over and forgotten about were rediscovered on six vault doors. After being restored to their original state, the murals became a highlight of the project as they were not previously documented and had not been seen by the public for decades. Other interior efforts included restoring original marble floors and elaborate woodwork throughout the building.


Mural on vault door in Washington CapitolPhoto: Girt Communications.


The exterior of the building also required meticulous restoration efforts. The Capitol dome was regilded in gold while hand carved stone elements that had been deteriorated by weather over the last 100+ years were recreated by hand. The replacement and restoration of the original sandstone required the reopening of the original quarry where the stone was mined in Rawlins, Wyo. The quarry had been closed for over 100 years but reopening it allowed the build team to get the exact same stone as was used in the original construction.


Restoring exterior carved stone elementsPhoto: Girt Communications.


The building’s original architect created four niches in the Capitol Rotunda that were meant to be adorned by statues, but the vision never came to fruition. The project sought to change that. Delissalde, a sculptor, was commissioned to create four statues to place in these niches and complete the original vision of the architect from 130 years ago.


Capitol Rotunda in Wyoming Capitol with new statues in nichesPhoto: Dan Schwalm Photography.


The project not only needed to accommodate a large construction crew (over 3,900 people were employed to work on various components over the four-year project), but also over 300 state employees that worked on-site in the Herschler Building. The Herschler project was phased in a way that allowed for half of the building to remain occupied while the other have was renovated and the expansion was built. When the first phase was completed, the employees were moved to the new half while construction commenced on the second phase.

The Wyoming Capitol Square project is believed to be the largest of its kind in Wyoming history.


PROJECT INFORMATION: Size 490,401 sf  Construction start and finish April 2016 to July 2019 Cost $252,600,000 Delivery method CM/Risk, negotiated

BUILDING TEAM: Submitting firm JE Dunn Construction Owner/Developer State of Wyoming Architect HDR Architecture SE Silman MEP Loring Engineering GC JE Dunn Construction Program Manager MOCA Systems

Related Stories

Government Buildings | Jan 9, 2023

Blackstone, Starwood among real estate giants urging President Biden to repurpose unused federal office space for housing

The Real Estate Roundtable, a group including major real estate firms such as Brookfield Properties, Blackstone, Empire State Realty Trust, Starwood Capital, as well as multiple major banks and CRE professional organizations, recently sent a letter to President Joe Biden on the implications of remote work within the federal government.

Giants 400 | Aug 11, 2021

BD+C Awards Programs

Entry information and past winners for Building Design+Construction's two major awards programs: 40 Under 40 and Giants 400

Reconstruction Awards | Mar 12, 2021

Call for entries: 2021 Reconstruction Awards

The 2021 Reconstruction Awards recognize the best reconstructed, renovated, or remodeled projects, based on overall design, engineering, and construction project quality. Entries are due July 16, 2021. 

Reconstruction Awards | Mar 12, 2021

2021 Reconstruction Awards Entry Information

Only projects completed or occupied between January 1, 2020 and July 16, 2021 are eligible.

Reconstruction Awards | Mar 12, 2021

2021 Reconstruction Awards 'How to Win' Tip Sheet

Keep this tip sheet handy when preparing your Reconstruction Awards entry, as these are some items on which your project will be judged.

Reconstruction Awards | Feb 5, 2021

The historic Maryland Theatre is reborn in Hagerstown

The Maryland Theatre project has won a Bronze Award in BD+C's 2020 Reconstruction Awards.

Reconstruction Awards | Jan 30, 2021

Repositioning of historic Sears Roebuck warehouse enlivens Boston’s Fenway neighborhood

Developer Samuels & Associates asked Elkus Manfredi Architects to reimagine the former Sears Roebuck & Co. warehouse in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood as a dynamic mixed-use destination that complements the high-energy Fenway neighborhood while honoring the building’s historical significance.


More In Category

Giants 400

BD+C Awards Programs

Entry information and past winners for Building Design+Construction's two major awards programs: 40 Under 40 and Giants 400


Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021