Windows at the Florida Capitol will sport a fresh new look if Gov. Ron DeSantis goes along with the $95 billion-plus budget proposal the House and Senate are working out.
Both chambers currently include money to replace all the windows of the main building, House and Senate office buildings and the nearby Knott Building.
And, according to the Department of Management Services, the plan is to remove the grates — known as louvers — that screen the windows and not replace them.
DMS, the state’s real estate manager, says as many as 1,656 windows were considered in estimations for the window replacement project; lawmakers think $17.5 million will cover the cost. The money is part of an overall $36 million project to upgrade the Capitol complex’s 44-year-old heating, cooling and ventilation system.
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The Capitol complex cost $43 million when construction was completed in 1977. The 22-story main building, one of only four state capitol buildings with a tower design, dominates the Tallahassee skyline.
“The aging windows of the Capitol are original to the building and are ready for an upgrade. (The) louvers will also be removed,” said Rose Hebert, the agency’s communications director. The design phase of the window replacement project is likely to be completed by the end of this year.
Windows at the “new” Capitol are unlike those at the Historic Capitol, which it replaced.
The Old Capitol also has striped awnings to provide shade, while the new Capitol windows’ louvers darken from the outside — but also obscure the view from within.
If DeSantis doesn’t veto the money, the louvers will be removed and likely never seen again.
Correction: The original story misstated the number of Capitol windows to be replaced and contained incorrect information about the sequencing of the window replacement project.
James Call is a member of the USA TODAY NETWORK-Florida Capital Bureau. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow on him Twitter: @CallTallahassee
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