The project includes scrubbing the Legislative Building’s sandstone. But equally important are repairs to the mortar between blocks of stone that has let water leak inside the Legislative Building, officials say.
“I would say it’s more of a repair project and then cleaning,” said Jim Erskine, a spokesman for the Department of Enterprise Services. A meeting is planned Tuesday with the contractor, and work is to be completed by early November.
Enterprise Services selected Portland-based Western Waterproofing Co., which submitted the low bid of $1.114 million, for the job. The firm is part of Western Construction Group, which is based in St. Louis.
A second firm, Pioneer Masonry Restoration Co. in Seattle, has won previous bids for work on the Legislative Building. But its $1.194 million bid was about $50,000 higher than Western’s, according to DES.
Both bids were well below the $2 million that DES expected, which could allow for additional work on the Capitol’s north steps, Erskine said.
Lawmakers set aside money this year to continue repairs and cleaning of the dome. SHKS Architects of Seattle inspected the building last winter.
The historic Capitol is 287 feet tall and is the fourth-tallest masonry dome in the world after three cathedrals in Europe.
Leaks have been detected over the years, and the delayed cleanings might have harmed the stonework, Erskine said. The dome used to be scrubbed every five years, but the 2009 work was put on hold when the economy and state revenues plummeted.
The last cleaning, in 2004, cost about $2 million for the Capitol and $5 million when including other structures on the Capitol Campus. But not all of the exterior mortar was refurbished after the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, and leaks began to show in four mini-domes, below the main dome’s columns, in the winter of 2004-05.
More leaks were found in 2007, which caused water stains and prompted repairs to office walls.