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Louisiana capitol doors to reopen this summer

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BATON ROUGE- The front doors of the state capitol have been shut for two years now as repair crews waterproof and reset limestone panels on the building's exterior.

The 86-year-old structure is the tallest building in Baton Rouge and the work being done is more than routine maintenance.

"It's turned into kind of a big job," said state spokesperson Jacques Berry. The building's exterior has about 8,500 limestone panels weighing about 3,000 pounds each. Some have come loose and need to be reset.

"It's important to remember this is the first time we've been able to do this," said Berry. "This building is probably the best example of art deco architecture in Louisiana. If we want to preserve it, jobs like this are important."

Currently, the project is in its pilot phase, set to wrap up by mid-summer. Repairs are being done to the base of the building on the north and south sides at a cost of $6.5 million, not including scaffolding costs.

Repairs to the entire building are estimated at $80 million dollars, including both legislative chambers and the structure's 34 story tower. The remaining repairs are contingent on future appropriations by state lawmakers.

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