W.Va. House Chamber under renovation

W.Va. House Chamber undergoing a $2.3 million renovation.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:35 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia House Chamber -- steeped in tradition, pomp and circumstance -- is now a construction zone.

Scaffolding stands from from floor to ceiling, wall to wall.

“It is exciting in a way because I want to see it look great,” said West Virginia House Clerk Steve Harrison. “This is a place where so many people come and, you know, we have tourists in here all the time and that gives an impression of our state to them.”

The chamber is getting a $2.3 million face lift -- it’s first in nearly three decades.

The plans call for a fresh coat of paint and some cleaning of its marble walls, along with new chairs, new carpet and a new audio system.

“The chamber needed it,” Harrison told WSAZ. “The carpet was worn. The peeling is worsening in the arches, and it really needed a renovation. It had been -- it was overdue.”

Each of the delegates’ desks -- 100 in all -- sit in the Grand Hall, where each one is being refinished before its return to the chamber.

“You don’t want to be extravagant, and this is not extravagant,” Harrison said. “This is just maintenance to make it look like it should.”

With no desks and scaffolding everywhere, that means a special session is virtually impossible.

Workers are on a firm deadline to have the chamber ready for the 60-day regular session in January.

The project is slated for completion in early December.

A.J. Vater and Company is doing the work. The same Pennsylvania-based firm completed chamber’s last renovation in 1995.