Mar 082007
 
Authors: TARYN CLARK

Tours of Colorado’s gold Capitol dome are now available to the public for the first time in five years.

The dome reopened on Feb. 20. It was closed on Sept. 11, 2001 for security reasons and remained closed for repairs, according to Teresa Holst, the dome tour supervisor.

Repairs were done on the stairways on the north and southwest corners leading up to the gold dome. Rose-colored marble imported from Italy was added to the stairwell and a new flight of stairs was erected to match the wrought iron and marble stairs seen in the rest of the building.

An extensive fire safety sprinkler system was also installed.

Since construction of the dome was completed in 1908, the dome has been closed a few times to restore the gold plating and to make upgrades. Before the recent closure, the dome had not been closed since the 1950s, according to Holst.

Tours are given Monday through Friday every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tours are given based on reservations and each takes 30 people up to the dome. Because of the high demand, Holst recommends scheduling a tour two weeks ahead of time.

All tours are free of charge.

A major highlight of the dome tour is a 360-degree view of Denver where mountain ranges and historical buildings of Denver can be seen. Denver International Airport can also be seen using binoculars.

At 272 feet tall, the dome is covered in 200 ounces of 24-karat gold leaf and commemorates Colorado’s Gold Rush era and the early pioneers and miners who helped build the state.

The Capitol recently implemented a work study/internship program for political science majors. The program trains students to give guided tours of the dome. Holst said that there have not been any CSU participants yet.

“We contacted CSU but the school said it was too far of a distance to go for a work study or internship,” Holst said. “I think that CSU should really consider it because it is a great opportunity to work in a beautiful building from an architectural, historical, and political standpoint.”

Kelci Paiva, a junior political science major, is planning to apply for the internship next spring.

“It is a little far, but I really want experience working in that environment,” Paiva said. “I am not from Colorado and I would like to learn more about the history.”

Esther Daniells, a zoology and wildlife biology major, also wants to visit the Capitol to learn more about Colorado history.

“I would love to go. I plan on going sometime before May,” Daniells said. “I do not know much about Colorado history and since I go to school here, I really want to know more about it.”

For more information on tour reservations, contact Teresa Holst at (303) 866-3834.

Staff writer Taryn Clark can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Graphic Suggestions:

Are there any AP photos of the capitol we could use?

Infobox: Capitol Facts:

? Construction of the dome was completed 1908.

? Building was constructed from native Colorado materials except for the brass and oak trimmings. Granite came from town of Gunnison, marble came from town of Marble, wainscoting and pillar facings came from Colorado Onyx, sandstone used in foundations and walls came from Fort Collins.

? Final cost of construction: $2,800,000.

? The original dome contained more than seven tons of lead.

? The dome is covered by 200 ounces of pure gold leaf.

? There are 94 steps to the dome’s observation deck.

? Located on East Colfax Avenue.

? Building was designed to resemble the nation’s Capitol.

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