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Capitol Building Stained Glass Project Moves Forward

June 29, 2014, 5:30 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Capitol Building Stained Glass Project Moves Forward

The state is making visible progress in its effort to restore historic stained glass in the Capitol Building.

Stained glass windows are restored over the State Capitol Building's grand staircase. That's the most recent development South Dakotans can see in the $3 million project.

"Well, we watched them take out the panels so now we're interested in seeing them put them back, see how they do it," Betty Harron of Pierre said.

Crews with Conrad Schmitt studios out of Wisconsin started removing stained glass from the Capitol last summer and restored the glass piece by piece. They've worked with state officials to ensure the improved product won't need to be restored for a very long time, if ever.

"We were fortunate to have a lot of time to really do investigations early so we really weren't coming up with surprises but just a lot of challenges," national projects director Kevin Grabowski said.

Some of the stained glass panels have complicated curves to fit a dome and some sit very high off the ground. After addressing those challenges, the project is nearing an end.

The rotunda dome will showcase its restored glass in the beginning of September. Then crews will reinstall strained glass in the house and senate chambers. The project should be done by the beginning of October in plenty of time of the state’s 125th anniversary.

The glass panels had aged and were showing visible damage.

"Now all you notice is the uniform beauty of the stained glass so that's been the thrill to watch it go back in," Mueller said.

"Chance to see history in the making and it's wonderful. It's so interesting," Oralee Beuchler of Pierre said.

Crews involved in the installation say it should stay intact for more than 100 years. Officials say the stained glass restoration project has received attention across the country.

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