Board of Public Works approves State House Dome restoration contract

The Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved a construction contract to restore the Maryland State House. In recent years, the paint on the State House’s iconic dome has chipped and become stained. Photo by Danielle E Gaines.

The historic dome of Maryland’s State House is about to get a facelift.

The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday signed a $1.5 million contract to renovate the State House’s facade — the first step in an extensive $34 million restoration project.

“By continuing this comprehensive restoration of the State House’s exterior and grounds, Marylanders can be assured that this national treasure will remain for generations to come,” Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

The contract – awarded to the Christman Company of Sterling, Virginia – received the unanimous approval of Hogan, Treasurer Dereck E. Davis (D) and Comptroller Peter VR Franchot (D).

The Christman Company previously restored the old Delegates Chamber and the old Senate Chamber of the State House.

The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol building still in use by the Legislature. The two and a half year contract will initially prioritize the restoration of the dome.

“The State House Dome is a fascinating part of this magnificent 1772 building that makes the dome and State House a national treasure,” said Hogan.

In recent years, the dome’s white paint has visibly chipped and become stained.

Last November, New York-based Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects was commissioned to survey the condition of the State House dome by sampling paint, analyzing building materials and identifying historical fabrics.

The investigation was completed in early December. The Department of General Services and the Maryland Historical Trust are studying the results of the survey and will determine the scope of restoration work to be carried out.

“As stewards of the State House and state-owned buildings, we have a great appreciation for our historic state capital,” Ellington E. Churchill, the secretary of the Department of General Services, said in a statement Wednesday. “And as a leading agency in the construction of government buildings, we understand the importance of delivering a quality project to the citizens of Maryland.”

In addition to the dome, the Christman Company will maintain and restore the exterior stone and brickwork, doors, windows, and artistic decoration of the State House, as well as the brickwork of the State Circle’s retaining wall and its irrigation system, ramps, walkways, railings, and landscaping.

The contract also provides for the contractor to stabilize and possibly restore Maryland’s Old Treasury Building for future use.

The Old Treasury Building was constructed between 1735 and 1736, making it Maryland’s oldest public building.

“This project not only helps preserve over 270 years of history, but will continue to allow Marylanders and visitors to learn about the history of the country and the great state of Maryland,” Churchill said.

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