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Colorado's refurbished golden Capitol dome to be unwrapped

December 26, 2013 Updated: December 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm
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photo - DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 24: Crews work on removing the scrim surrounding the Colorado State Capitol dome, December 26 2013. The weatherproof wrap that's covered the dome for nearly two years is starting to come off early Thursday morning. The process will take a couple of days and will be followed by the removal of scaffolding. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 24: Crews work on removing the scrim surrounding the Colorado State Capitol dome, December 26 2013. The weatherproof wrap that's covered the dome for nearly two years is starting to come off early Thursday morning. The process will take a couple of days and will be followed by the removal of scaffolding. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post) 

DENVER - The gold dome began reappearing Thursday morning at the state Capitol as workers disassembled a white plastic tarp that has hidden construction and gilding work since May.

Construction on the crumbling gold-plated dome started in 2012 after lawmakers passed legislation funding the restoration project through Colorado Preservation, Inc.

"The unveiling of the new state capitol dome really symbolizes Colorado's spirit of determination and our ability to emerge from difficult circumstances with a more solid foundation and bright outlook," Kathy Nesbitt, Executive Director of the Department of Personnel & Administration, said in a prepared statement.

The rehabilitation of the dome was stalled by bouts of high wind and a severe cold snap, but in a few days the white "shrink wrap" will be removed from most of the Capitol and after the New Year the scaffolding will come down. It will take about six weeks to remove the scaffolding, and some construction will continue along the lower portion of the Capitol's peak.

That final portion of the work - dealing with the observation deck and lower portion of the drum - will be finished in late summer, said State Architect Larry Friedberg.

Gold for the dome was donated by AngloGold Ashanti of Teller County, which mines gold from the same Victor and Cripple Creek sources as the gold first used to gild the iconic dome.

It took only 65 ounces of gold to cover the entire dome as it was cast extremely thin by a gilding company in Italy. Gold on Monday was about $1,200 an ounce, the lowest price it's been in years. But when the donation was made it was valued at more than $116,000, according to The Denver Post.

Doug Platt, communications manager for the Department of Personnel and Administration said needed repairs became obvious in 2006 when a portion of the cast iron dome fell onto the observation deck. He said water infiltration had caused portions of the dome and dome supports to corrode and eventually collapse.

Restoration was done using funds from historic preservation funds and private donations collected by Colorado Preservation, Inc.

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Contact Megan Schrader

719-286-0644

Twitter: @CapitolSchrader

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