Statehouse basement renovations approach $600k

Indiana Statehouse (IL file photo)

Indiana paid nearly $600,000 to remodel and reconfigure several committee rooms on the state capitol building’s first floor. The renovations took place after last year’s legislative session.

Statehouse Room 156 was previously sectioned into four smaller rooms and a connecting lobby-like area. After months-long renovations costing $583,000 — to date — it’s a snazzy set of three rooms with a small technology hub for streaming equipment.

“Much-needed technology upgrades include updated microphones and streaming equipment, video screens, lighting and physical security,” said House Republicans spokeswoman Erin Wittern in an email to the Capital Chronicle.

The before and after

Many House committees meet in Room 156.

Prior to the renovations, around 30 people could sit in each of the four small committee rooms. Many more stood against the walls or found spots on the floor. Citizens, reporters, lobbyists and lawmakers were often shoulder-to-shoulder in the space. Those who couldn’t find a spot inside waited in the hall, watching on a television monitor.

The renovations created three rooms, two smaller and a third, much larger, that could hold 70-100 people. That particular room has an odd layout, however, with two massive columns in the middle of it — meaning no one can see everything from any one spot in the room.

Wittern said the renovations “will accommodate more members of the public, and expand meeting views for the public and committee members.”

In addition to the changes in layout, the rooms have new carpet, paint, furniture and audio-video equipment so that Hoosiers can follow along with committee activities from home.

Looking toward January

The rooms will see a full load of work when lawmakers return Jan. 9 for the 2023 legislation session.

Wittern wrote that the $583,000 in spending represents the “vast majority” of the costs, but doesn’t include several bills, for which there’s not yet a timeline for completion or payment.

The total to date includes payments to four vendors: $243,000 to Glenroy Construction, $201,000 to Force Technology Solutions, $132,000 to furniture company Kimball International and $7,000 to digital technology company Presidio, according to Wittern.

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