The Virginia Capitol is the “Front Door of the Commonwealth,” a living monument to democracy and liberty. In 2004, the General Assembly appropriated $104.5 million to restore, renovate and improve the aging state of the Capitol’s infrastructure; to add a 27,000 square-foot underground extension to provide much-needed reception, meeting, media, and multi-purpose spaces for legislators and guests; and repair the grounds in accordance with the Capitol Square Landscape Master Plan. With much deserved fanfare, the Virginia Capitol was rededicated and reopened on May 1, 2007, following the first major restoration and expansion of the Virginia Capitol in almost 100 years. Details of this historic project are outlined below.

Restoration Process

Beginning stages (2006) of the new underground extension to the Capitol
Beginning stages (2006) of the new underground extension to the Capitol

Our mission is to revitalize Virginia’s 216 year-old Capitol to ensure it provides an efficient, modern working environment, while maintaining its historical significance.

In the process of extending the life of this historic building, we will be continuing Thomas Jefferson’s vision of public integrity and dignity by providing accessibility to governance, guaranteeing its significance for future generations, and building on Virginia’s tradition of excellence.

Through partnerships with the citizens of the Commonwealth and private enterprise, it will remain a working capitol. Beginning in May of 2007, the completed restoration of the Capitol was unveiled as a continuing symbol of democracy and a distinctive component of Virginia’s efforts to preserve the Commonwealth’s heritage.

In achieving our mission, resources were obtained in an affordable, fair, and consistent manner for the benefit of all Virginians. Our stewardship will foster a collaborative relationship with the public and ensure a safe working environment.

Restoration Issues

The Capitol grounds under full construction in 2007
The Capitol grounds under full construction in 2007

Until now, the Capitol building had undergone only two major renovations. Between 1904 and 1906, the east and west wings were added. These wings house the House of Delegates Chamber and the Senate Chamber respectively. Between 1962-1964, the Capitol was modernized to include an updated electrical system and air conditioning.

The Virginia Capitol is not only a state treasure, but a tribute to America’s heritage. In order to protect and ensure that the Capitol will continue to serve as Virginia’s seat of government, the building was renovated and updated to accommodate the needs of present and future generations. The $74+ million exterior and interior renovation includes:

  • Replacing mechanical, plumbing, and storm water systems
  • Replacing heating, air conditioning, and electrical distribution
  • Preventing water and moisture penetration into the building
  • Restoring architectural and historic features, such as original decorative painting
  • Renovating and replacing the exterior surfaces
  • Constructing an extension for a visitor’s center underground on the South side of the Capitol

To support the restoration and ongoing preservation of Virginia’s Capitol and Capitol Square, the Virginia Capitol Foundation was created in 2004 as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization. The Foundation seeks to enhance this historic treasure by securing funds for the restoration and acquisition of artwork, fixtures, and furnishings.