State Senator Norm Wallman is introducing a bill that would order the completion of the four courtyards at the state capitol building in Lincoln — at an estimated cost of nearly two-million dollars. Wallman, a lawmaker from Cortland, says the work should have been finished decades ago.
“Due to the Great Depression, this was never completed,” Wallman says. “There have been a few attempts made in the past few years to finally finish what was in the original plan. You can tell by the design of the tile, that there’s something missing. You rarely see people in the courtyards and I think this is a shame.”
Wallman acknowledged the cost of the project as being significant, but he added the longer the work is put off, the higher the cost grows. He says it’s possible some volunteer support would help the project, but it first has to get started. Wallman says fountains and new tile would be part of the renovation.
Wayne Drummond, Dean of the College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told a legislative panel the state capitol building was recognized by the American Institute of Architects, as one of the country’s most significant buildings. Drummond says the Nebraska capitol ranked number-65 in the nation, competing with every building in the nation from the U-S Capitol to the Chrysler Building in New York City. He says the enhancement in Lincoln would be a “true asset.”
Bob Ripley, administrator for the Capitol Commission, says there has been some discussion of finding alternative funding sources for the capitol landscape, which he says is recognized as an historic landmark by the National Park Service.
Ripley says the landscape design plan for the grounds was put in place in 1934, and fountains were a part of that. He says there’s a lot of cost associated with installing fountains so it would be easier to raise money for plants in that area, not for hardscaping.
Ripley says there are original design documents for the fountains with enough detail to guide the project. He compares the fountain plan to a low, flat soup bowl, sitting in a saucer. Committee members inquired whether the project could involve U-N-L’s architecture faculty and students.
Thanks to Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice