In advance of his State of the State address at 1:30 p.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the completion of restorations to the state Capitol, including a new Hall of Governors on the second floor and the reopening of a skylight outside the Assembly chambers.
The outside of the Capitol has been surrounded by scaffolding for years, but Cuomo came into office last year vowing to speed up the construction and make the Capitol more of a historical building — with state artifacts and displays scattered throughout.
Cuomo held a ribbing cutting ceremony in the War Room on the Capitol’s second floor, toured the Hall of Governors outside his office with lawmakers and then lifted the curtain on the skylight on the Capitol’s fifth floor.
“The restoration of the Capitol is a symbol of our efforts to restore confidence and performance in our state government,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The Capitol was once a shining symbol of democracy, but it has been degraded by years of neglect. The building has now been brought back to life ahead of schedule and at less cost to taxpayers.”
The 14-year restoration project was scheduled to finish in July 2014, but Cuomo says it will now be done by this fall. He said the work’s cost was also reduced by $2.3 million.
A full listing of the changes can be found here.
Among the changes are new portraits and a historical timeline of the state’s history in the Hall of Governors. There’s also a new website about the hall at http://hallofgovernors.ny.gov.
Also on display at the Capitol is a copy of the first state constitution from 1777, a letter from George Washington expressing confidence in General George Clinton in 1777, and documents on the abolition of slavery.
In the Empire State Plaza concourse, Cuomo has displayed vehicles used by former governors and officials, including Gov. Nelson Rockefeller’s executive limousine.