Chas Sisk, The Tennessean
The state Capitol will reopen Dec. 17 after a $15.7 million renovation that includes new building systems, cosmetic fixes and security upgrades.
The Department of General Services says it has completed its biggest restoration of the Capitol in 50 years. Begun soon after the legislative session ended in May, renovations to the building used by the General Assembly, Gov. Bill Haslam and the state's constitutional officers have been completed in time for staffers to move back in before the legislature reconvenes in January.
State officials took reporters on a tour of the restored building on Friday. Improvements include new security desks with photo identification scanners, a 300-ton air conditioning system, better wireless Internet access and security cameras throughout the Capitol.
The project also includes new conference rooms and renovated offices on the Capitol's basement floor, where workers have exposed 1850s brick groin vaults n the ceilings. Much of the building's Victorian Era carpeting has been replaced and restored, General Services Commissioner Steve Cates said.
Check back at Tennessean.com later today for a video tour and more photos of the project.