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Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project

See the latest Weekly Construction Update

Note: The Capitol is partially open for business and limited tours are available during construction.

A $272.7 million, three-plus years, comprehensive restoration is underway to restore and preserve the Capitol building and to update the infrastructure supporting the Capitol Complex. After more than a century of use, Minnesota State Capitol Building has reached a critical deterioration point. During construction:

  • The Capitol will remain partially open to the public.
  • The State will continue to conduct its business during regular legislative sessions. 
  • The Restoration Project will wrap up in 2017.


Browse the tabs below to learn more about visiting the Capitol during construction; parking and transportation options; accessibility; the latest news and related websites; and frequently asked questions.

Blue arrow  Take a look at our photos!  See Restoration Project photos on Flickr

About the Project

The Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project is a $272.7 million, three plus-years restoration, renovation and repair initiative. Work began in fall 2013 and will end in 2017. 

The Capitol was built in 1905 and, after more than a century of use, has reached a critical deterioration point:

  • Crumbling exterior marble and stone
  • Life-safety concerns
  • Antiquated mechanical, electric and plumbing systems
  • Inefficient and cumbersome spaces for the public


The Four Phases and Guiding Principles


Through a four-phase plan, the Capitol will remain partially open to the public and the State will continue to conduct its business during regular legislative sessions. Below are the phases and start dates.

Phase 1: September 2013 - Begin abatement, demolition and preparation of basement.
Phase 2: February 2014 - Begin to procure and construct mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure.
Phase 3: June 2014 - Close and repair the West Wing's ground and first floors. Close and repair the entire East Wing.
Phase 4: June 2015 - Close and repair the West Wing's second and third floors. Close and repair the entire North Wing.


Guiding Principles ... Lead all Work and Decision Making
Capitol Dome Graphic
Architectural Integrity
  • Preserve and restore the essential design elements of both the interior details and exterior stone.
  • Be true to Cass Gilbert’s vision in 1905 of a functional and open building.
Committee Room
Building Functionality
  • Ensure the Capitol continues to effectively serve government functions for the next 100 years
School Bus Life Safety
  • Ensure accessibility for all Minnesotans and other visitors
  • Upgrade the Capitol to current safety codes
  • Provide a secure infrastructure to support and complement our tradition of an open and public capitol.


Restoration, Repair and Renovation To Do List


Interior

The highest priority for the restoration project is to update the infrastructure supporting the Capitol Complex.

  • Replace corroded plumbing system
  • Update aged mechanical systems
  • Replace outdated electrical systems
  • Modernize technology systems
  • Increase energy efficiency
  • Increase the amount of public space
  • Improve access for all Minnesotans


Exterior

  • Repair the crumbling stone
  • Replace deteriorated marble with new marble
  • Replace the roof
  • Replace windows with energy-efficient, historically accurate windows


Financing


The Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project is funded through appropriations granted by the Minnesota legislature.

May 2012 - First appropriation granted - $37.4 million
May 2013 - Second appropriation granted - $109 million
May 2014 - Third appropriation granted - $126.3 million 


The Long, Winding Road to Restoration


Before this latest initiative, there were more than 30 years of predesigns and studies on restoring the Capitol.


30-Year Timeline Graphic 


Programs and Activities During the Restoration


Most programs and activities will continue during the restoration project. To learn more about visiting your legislator, attending a hearing, or participating in events and rallies, see the Visiting the Capitol Tab.


Impacted Citizens (Annually)

Building Tenants
  • Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of state government
  • Broadcast and print media
Concerned Citizens
  • Thousands testify at or attend hearings
  • Thousands meet with their legislators
Rotunda Events/Rallies
  • 370 events
  • 52,392 attendees
Tourism/Education
  • 120,000 visitors
  • 60,000 students
  • 13,000 tours
  • 38,000 Info Desk questions

A Brief Architectural Overview of the Building


The Minnesota State Capitol was designed by noted Minnesota architect Cass Gilbert. It opened on January 2, 1905, and was immediately hailed throughout the country as one of America's grandest and most beautiful public buildings; a reputation that has endured for more than a 100 years. 

Renaissance Revival Masterpiece

The classically styled building is a Renaissance Revival masterpiece of the Beaux Arts School. It has the second largest self-supported marble dome in the world and features 23 different types of stone - including 16 varieties of marble from around the world, and granite and limestone from Minnesota. 

Spectacular murals and heroic historical paintings created by some of the finest early 20th-century artists grace the chambers and hallways. Many original furnishings and lighting fixtures designed by the architect are still in place throughout the building.

Exquisite Sculpture Adorns Building

Sculpture, prominent in most public buildings at the turn of the 20th century, is an essential component of the Capitol design. 

At the base of the dome is a gleaming gold sculpture of a four-horse chariot and figures made of sheets of gilded copper hammered around a steel frame. Designed by Daniel Chester French and Edward C. Potter, it is officially known as the "Progress of the State," but usually referred to as the "Quadriga." 

Below the Quadriga are six colossal figures representing "the Virtues" sculpted in white marble. Twelve stone eagles stand guard around the dome. The beautiful exterior also features classical wreaths, plaques, and a rich variety of intricate carvings.

Learn More



Have Questions or Comments?

Have a question about the restoration? Spot a problem with the website? We'd like to know.

Blue arrow capitol-restoration@state.mn.us

Visiting the Capitol

The Capitol will remain partially open for business and tours during construction. You may want plan for extra time to get to your destination(s). We apologize for any inconvenience during this historic restoration project. 

Location
The Minnesota State Capitol is located on the north side of downtown St. Paul.

Minnesota State Capitol
75 Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Building Hours
Building hours are not affected by the restoration.

Mon - Fri, 7 am - 5 pm
Sat, 10 am - 3 pm
Sun, 1 pm - 4 pm

Blue arrow State Capitol Complex Visitor Map (PDF)

Full map of all buildings, parking facilities and transportation options around the Capitol Complex area.

Blue arrow State Capitol Building Visitor Map (PDF)

Map of the immediate vicinity of the Capitol building and the nearest transportation facilities and parking options.

Visitors with disabilities please click the Accessibility tab above for more information on Capitol access.

Where to Enter the Capitol Building


This section updated 8/28/14

All Capitol entrances are closed except the South Main Entrance. The wheelchair accessible entrance is located directly under the South Main Entrance stairs.

Note: 

  • Effective August 29 – November 1. The west elevator, adjacent to South Main Entrance, serves Ground through 3rd floors only. There is no Basement service.
  • Effective August 28, 2014.  The Capitol basement tunnel is open to employees only. It will reopen to the public in November.

As the restoration progresses, available entrances may change. Please check this page often for the most up-to-date information.

What to Expect Inside the Capitol Building


This section updated 8/28/14

The Capitol is an active construction site. Your safety is our number one priority. Please stay within the designated public areas. Learn more about Public Safety During Construction (PDF).

Effective June 2014, all floors of the East Wing and the Rotunda are closed. The Ground and 1st Floors of the West Wing are closed. This will change as the restoration progresses. Check this page often for the most up-to-date information. See at-a-glance What's Open and What's Closed (PDF).

Expect construction workers and machinery. Expect noise and vibration coming from behind temporary walls.

Since this is a top-to-bottom restoration, the exterior is also a construction zone. Expect scaffolding, machinery, workers and closed sidewalks.

Most offices are relocating to other Capitol Complex buildings. Check the Department Relocation List (PDF) for the most current information.


Getting Around the Capitol Basement Tunnel

Effective August 28, 2014, the Capitol basement tunnel is open to employees only. It will reopen to the public in November.

Tours


Tours of non-construction areas in the Capitol building are offered by the Minnesota Historical Society.

Visiting your Legislator


To find your legislator's office:

  1. Enter your full address on the Who Represents Me? webpage, click the SEARCH button. 
  2. Click on the name of the legislator you are visiting. Your legislator's webpage with current contact information will pop up.
  3. Or contact the Senate or House information offices at the following numbers: 

Minnesota Senate Information: 651-296-0504
Minnesota House of Representatives Information: 651-296-2146

Attending a Hearing


During the restoration project, hearings will be held in either the State Office Building or the State Capitol.  Check the Legislative Meeting Calendar webpage to confirm a hearing location.

Events and Rallies


Events and rallies will continue during the restoration project. 


Amenities


This section updated 8/28/14

Restrooms

Restrooms are available wherever floor access is available. Current public restroom locations are:

  • Basement - none
  • Ground Floor - none
  • First Floor - none
  • Second Floor - east side of House Chamber, unisex
  • Third Floor - east side of House Chamber, unisex

Dining

  • Rathskeller Cafe (the Capitol cafeteria) - Closed for the season. Will reopen for the 2015 Legislative Session.
  • Drinking Fountains - Working fountains are available wherever floor access is available.
  • Cafeterias in other buildings on the Capitol Complex will remain open.


ATM

  • The ATM in the Capitol basement tunnel near the Rathskeller entrance is unavailable to the pubic until November, when the Basement reopens to the public.


Lost and Found

Call 651-201-2300. You will reach the Department of Administration's Plant Management Division, which provides lost and found services to the Capitol Complex area.

Did you know? The Department of Administration serves as the building manager and custodial owner of the Minnesota State Capitol as well as groundskeeper for the Capitol Mall and surrounding Capitol Complex.



Parking/Transit

Minnesota State Capitol
75 Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Building Hours

Building hours are not affected by the restoration project.

Mon - Fri, 7 am - 5 pm
Sat, 10 am - 3 pm
Sun, 1 pm - 4 pm

Visitors with Disabilities

Please see the Accessibility Tab for additional parking information.

Street Closures and Detours 

This section updated 8/14/14

  • Aurora Avenue, on the south side of the Capitol, is closed to thru traffic effective June 2014. The east end of Aurora has 10 disability parking spaces available. Note: Underground utility work August 20-29 will take up two public disability parking spaces. Enter from Cedar Street.


Parking


Parking locations and availability may change during the restoration project. Please check this page often. 

Use these maps to help locate parking areas.

Blue arrow State Capitol Complex Visitor Map (PDF)

Full map of all buildings and parking and transportation options.

Blue arrow State Capitol Building Visitor Map (PDF)

Map of the immediate vicinity of the Capitol building and the nearest transportation and parking options.


Visitor Parking Facilities

Below is the most recent information about visitor parking facilities as of 7/30/14.

Most lots have pay stations. Parking rates are $1.75 per hour or a $7 all-day rate. Pay stations take Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards, $1 bills, $5 bills and coins.  You can add time from any pay station on the Capitol Complex using the information on your parking receipt.

Lot AA - Open

  • Location: Aurora Avenue and Rice Street. One block west of the Capitol.
  • This lot accommodates public parking and contract parking. Please park in public metered parking spaces.


Lot Q - Open

  • Location: Cedar Street and Sherburne Avenue. One block north of the Capitol.
  • This lot accommodates public parking and contract parking. Please park in public metered parking spaces.
  • 2 public disability parking spaces available.


Centennial Parking Ramp, Orange Level - Open

  • Location: Cedar Street and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., south of the Capitol on Cedar Avenue and east on MLK Boulevard.
  • This lot accommodates public parking and contract parking. Please park in public metered parking spaces.
  • 2 public disability parking spaces available.

Street Parking

Blue arrow Street Meter Locations within Capitol Complex (PDF)

On-street parking near the Capitol building has been affected by the restoration project.

  • Metered parking is available, but very limited, on Cedar Street and on John Ireland Boulevard on the south side of the Capitol. There are also meters on Sherburne Avenue, one block north of the Capitol building. 
  • Aurora Avenue, on the south side of the Capitol, is closed to thru traffic effective June 2014. The east end of Aurora has 10 public disability parking spaces available. Enter from Cedar Street.
  • Most meters take quarters only. One quarter buys 12 minutes of parking time.
  • Please check parking information posted on meters for enforcement times.

Bike Racks

Blue arrow Bike Rack Locations (PDF)

Bicycle parking has been affected by the restoration project. The Bike Rack Locations map (above) has the most up-to-date information.

'Nice Ride' Bikes Available

Nice Ride is a nonprofit bike rental program where you simply take a bike when you need one, and then return it to any station in the system when you arrive at your destination.

Nice Ride bike kiosks within the Capitol Complex include:

  • Rice Street, near the Minnesota Department of Transportation building
  • E. 14th Street and N. Robert Street, near the Freeman building 
  • Kellogg Blvd. and John Ireland Blvd., at the Minnesota History Center


Visit the Nice Ride website page, How it Works, to learn more.

Public Transportation 


Bus

Blue arrow Capitol Complex Bus Stop Locations (PDF) - to come

Metro bus stops have been permanently changed due to the Green Line Light Rail Train (LRT). Several bus routes stop one block from the Capitol Complex. 

Visit the Metro Transit webpage to plan your trip, or learn more about scheduling and route information.

Green Line  - Light Rail (LRT)

Blue arrow Capitol Complex Light Rail Stop Locations (PDF) - Stations are noted on this Capitol Complex Visitors Map

Light rail stops are not affected by the restoration project. There are three Green Line Light Rail stops within the Capitol Complex

  • Capitol/Rice Street Station (2 blocks south of the Capitol building)
  • Robert Street Station
  • 10th Street Station


Visit the Metro Green Line Route Map webpage for more information.

Accessibility

Use this page to learn the latest information about accessibility and services provided to visitors with disabilities during the Capitol Restoration Project.

Accessible Disability Parking

This section updated 8/14/14


During the restoration project, accessible parking locations and availability may change. Please check this page often. 

Open Closed
Aurora Avenue - East End - Open for Disability Parking Only
  • Location: South side of the Capitol building.
  • Aurora Avenue is closed to thru traffic. Ten public disability parking spaces are available. Note: Underground utility work Aug. 20-29 will take up two public disability parking spaces. Enter from Cedar Street.
  • A new, paved sidewalk leads to the accessible entrance under the South Main Entrance stairs.

Centennial Parking Ramp, Orange Level - Open
  • Location: Cedar Street and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
  • 2 public disability parking spaces.

Lot D - Open
  • Location: Rice Street, two blocks west of the Capitol building.
  • 8 public disability parking spaces.
Lot B - Closed effective 8/2/14
  • Location: University Avenue and Capitol Blvd, on north side of the Capitol building.

Lot F - Closed
  • Location: Rice Street, south of Aurora Avenue.

Lot N - Closed
  • Location: University Avenue and Rice Street.

Accessible Entrances


Ground Floor Entrance, under the South Main Entrance Stairs facing Aurora Avenue - Open

75 Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

  • Fully accessible
  • Clearance for Metro Mobility vehicles
  • Intercom available
  • Enter building at Ground Floor


University Avenue Entrance, north side of building - Closed

  • This is an emergency exit only during the restoration project. There is no accessible entrance.

What Else to Expect Inside the Capitol Building


This section updated 8/28/14

The Capitol is an active construction site. Your safety is our number one priority. Please stay within the designated public areas. Learn more about Public Safety During Construction (PDF).

Elevators

The two passenger elevators, located on the south side of the building, will be affected by the restoration project. Below is current information as of 6/13/14.

  • East elevator - Closed to all floors effective mid-June 2014
  • West elevator - Service is available from Ground through 3rd Floors only effective August 29 – November 1. There is no Basement service until November.

Restrooms

Restrooms are available wherever floor access is available. Current public restroom locations are:

  • Basement - none
  • Ground Floor - none
  • Second Floor - east side
  • First Floor - none
  • Second Floor - east side of House Chamber, unisex
  • Third Floor - east side of House Chamber, unisex

News/Links


In the News



2014

Jul 11, 2014 - Capitol Renovations - Behind-the-Scenes (Video), TPT-TV, Mary Lahammer

Jul 7, 2014 - State Capitol Renovation Enters Major Phase (Video), WCCO-TV, Pat Kessler

May 29, 2014 - Minnesota State Capitol Restoration (Video), Capitol Report, Minnesota Senate Media Services

Apr 21, 2014 - Stonecutters Save a Minnesota Treasure (Video), University of Minnesota Labor Education Service

Feb 25, 2014 - Minnesota State Capitol Tour (Interactive Module), StarTribune, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, Glen Stubbe, David Brewster

Feb 16, 2014 - Renovations Underway at Minnesota State Capitol (Video), KSTP-TV, Tom Hauser

Feb 5, 2014 - Capitol Renovation Uncovers Architectural Gems (Video), KSTP-TV, Tom Hauser

2013

Feb 9, 2013 - Minnesota Capitol: It's crumbling, but what a price tag (Web Page), Pioneer Press, Bill Salisbury

2012

Mar 14, 2012 - Capitol Restoration Tour (Video), TPT-TV, David Gillette 

Feb 10, 2012 - Crumbling Minnesota Capitol Reaches 'Tipping Point (PDF), The Associated Press 

Jan 13, 2012 - Capitol Renovation Tab: $241 million   (PDF), Politics in Minnesota.com, Charley Shaw 

2011

Dec 8, 2011 - Major Building Renovations Needed at State Capitol (PDF), WCCO-TV, Pat Kessler


Related Links


Cass Gilbert Society

Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board

Minnesota State Capitol Preservation Commission

Minnesota State Capitol Tours - Minnesota Historical Society


FAQs

Why is the Minnesota State Capitol under construction?

After more than a century of use, the Capitol's exterior and infrastructure have reached a critical tipping point. There is significant deterioration of stone, leaking pipes, lack of ventilation that are at the risk of failure. Work began in fall 2013 and will end in 2017. 

Is the Capitol open?

Yes, the Capitol building is partially open and limited tours are available. Building hours have not been affected by the construction. Enter the building at the South Main Entrance or through the Capitol basement tunnel.

Mon - Fri, 7 am - 5 pm
Sat, 10 am - 3 pm
Sun, 1 pm - 4 pm

Where do I park?

See the Parking/Transit Tab and Accessibility Tab for the most up-to-date information.

What does the building look like now?

  • The Capitol is an active construction site.
  • As of June 2014, all floors of the East Wing and the Rotunda are closed. The Ground and 1st Floors of the West Wing are closed. This will change as the restoration progresses. Check this page often for the most up-to-date information.
  • Expect construction workers and machinery. Expect noise and vibration coming from behind temporary walls.
  • Since this is a top-to-bottom restoration, the exterior is also a construction zone. Expect scaffolding, machinery, workers and closed sidewalks.


How does the restoration project impact visitors and staff?

Most Capitol building tenants are relocating to other Capitol Complex buildings. Check the Department Relocation List (PDF) for the most up-to-date information.
Events and rallies will continue during the restoration. See the Public Events webpage for more information. 
Hearings will be held in either the State Office Building or the State Capitol.  Check the Legislative Meeting Calendar webpage to confirm a hearing location.
The Capitol basement tunnel is open while undergoing major construction. Signage will guide you through temporary corridors.
Public restrooms are available wherever floor access is available.


Are tours of the Capitol building still available?

Yes. Tours of non-construction areas in the Capitol building are offered by the Minnesota Historical Society.

What are the goals of the restoration project?

The are three overarching principles that guide all work and decision making. 

Architectural Integrity

  • Preserve and restore the essential design elements of both the interior details and exterior stone.
  • Be true to Cass Gilbert’s vision in 1905 of a functional and open building.

Building Functionality

  • Ensure the Capitol continues to effectively serve government functions for the next 100 years


Life Safety

  • Ensure accessibility for all Minnesotans and other visitors
  • Upgrade the Capitol to current safety codes
  • Provide a secure infrastructure to support and complement our tradition of an open and public capitol.


How much will the Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project cost?

$272.7 million. 

The Minnesota State Capitol Restoration Project is funded through appropriations granted by the Minnesota legislature.

May 2012 - First appropriation granted - $37.4 million
May 2013 - Second appropriation granted - $109 million
May 2014 - Third appropriation granted - $126.3 million

Why is the restoration project starting now?

The need for restoration has been identified for more than 30 years. 

In 2011, the Minnesota State Capitol Preservation Commission was formed by statute to develop a comprehensive, multi-year plan for the restoration, preservation and maintenance of the Minnesota State Capitol. Its 22 members include legislative leadership, the Governor, and four public citizens. 

In 2012, the committee unanimously adopted a Comprehensive Master Plan to completely restore the Capitol. Also, the Minnesota legislature has granted appropriations to fund the restoration project. 

By fixing or solving the root causes of all deterioration now, we will avoid the exponential costs of doing it later.

What is the sequence of work for the restoration project?

Through a four-phase plan, the Capitol will remain partially open to the public and the State will continue to conduct its business during regular legislative sessions. Below are the phases and start dates.

Phase 1: September 2013 - Begin abatement, demolition and preparation of basement
Phase 2: February 2014 - Begin to procure and construct mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure
Phase 3: June 2014 - Close and repair the West Wing's ground and first floors. Close and repair the entire East Wing.
Phase 4: June 2015 - Close and repair the West Wing's second and third floors. Close and repair the entire North Wing.