Having moved to Boise in late 2007, I’ve only known the monolithic Capitol building as the gated structure that sits between Sixth and Eighth Streets, always with a watchful security guard and bevy of construction activity. Boise natives have often told me of their fourth grade trips to the Idaho Statehouse, and their lessons on the architecture by John E. Tourtellotte.
So when I found myself staring straight up into the oculus of the 208 foot tall Rotunda of Idaho’s most stately building, I was overcome with vertigo. I craned my neck to capture all of the gleaming marble. I believe my simple statement was something like: “Wow.”
Robyn Lockett, capitol services coordinator, guided me through the new underground legislative hearing rooms that replace the old fashioned ‘Knight of the Round Table’ style rooms that were used in the early part of the century.
After we descended the outside staircase into the basement, we walked down a long marble hallway. Robyn told me, as we passed an antique 20’s roll-top desk, that we’d just entered the original basement. A few short steps seamlessly blend the new with the old.
The additions are capped with skylights made of a special glass that keep the basement from roasting, but allow both an excellent natural light source, and provide a view of that impressive dome.
The Idaho State Capitol Commission released a statement this week, deeming the Capitol building “substantially complete.”
The Legislature will begin moving in, selecting chamber seats, and finalizing furniture arrangements this coming Monday, with the executive following within the next month and a half. The building will open once more to the public on Jan. 9, “on-time and on-budget” as Robyn put it.