Capitol "Improvement"
9/2002 Kansas state government is digging itself into a hole--big time!

Construction is underway on an underground parking garage on the north side of the state capitol grounds. Meanwhile, the capitol dome is being reinforced to mount a bronze sculpture atop. The scupture, controversial because of its weight and its installation cost to taxpayers, is a Kansa Indian ("People of the Winds, from which the state got its name) pulling his bow to shoot an arrow toward the North Star. The sculpture is called "Ad Astra" and refers to the first half of the state slogan, "Ad Astra Per Aspera" ("To the Stars Through Difficulty").

The "Per Aspera" part of the slogan applies equally in this case. The possibility of mounting a statue on the dome has been under discussion for appromimately 100 years, another in a long series of construction controversarys about the building.

Also controversial is the parking garage and underground tunnel system currently under construction. Many fine, old trees were sacrificed to the digging. After a dry summer, torrential rains caused standing water in the hole, just at the time West Nile virus was finding its way into Kansas. (Standing waters is a potential breeding ground for sickness-carrying mosquitoes.)

Of further concern, cracks have appeared in interior walls in the West Wing of the capitol building. Therefore, the foundation of the West Wing was reinforced.

These expenses are being incurred at a time of huge financial deficits in state budget spending.

Select thumbnails to see larger versions of photos.

Below:
Steps on the north side of the capitol have been removed and stored. They will be replaced upon completion of this project.

capitol dome and barbed wire

Left:
The capitol dome is currently being reinforced, using a gigantic crane!

 

Below:
West Wing reinforcement

north side steps are in storage looking west, the Big Hole

the West Wing, with foundation reinforcement


Left:
A good view of the Big Hole

The "Good Old Days"
old etching view of Kansas capitol

All photo © 2002 by Carol Yoho
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