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New doors for Illinois Capitol come with hefty price tag

Sept. 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The architect of Illinois' state Capitol in Springfield acknowledges that the building's new doors cost $669,608, including installation.

But J. Richard Alsop III said the three sets of doors cannot be compared to those in an ordinary building, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The copper-coated doors were part of a $50 million rehab of the Capitol aimed at restoring the west wing to its 19th century grandeur.

"We must remember that these are custom doors with carvings that do not exist on a shelf at your typical home-improvement store," Alsop said in a statement Wednesday. "Like many other materials in the building, it takes craftsmen to perform the work necessary to give us the desired and appropriate historic fabric."

The doors also had to meet modern standards for fire safety and disability access, which added to the cost, Alsop said.

Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, suggested the work at the Capitol might be excessive at a time when the state is having financial problems.

"In order to accomplish such an elegant rehabilitation of the Capitol building, the state Legislature skipped the requirement of justifying why that investment was a higher priority than the needed improvements to our water, roads, public transit and education systems that are not being fully funded," Msall said.

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