PA State Capitol building to get a nearly $4M facelift for new staircases, cafeteria

10 January 2024- This spring, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) will launch a renovation project in the East Wing of the State Capitol building to install a grand staircase to replace the existing escalators, install a large, ADA-compliant group elevator, make rotunda lighting improvements, and upgrade the cafeteria’s ceiling, lighting, and HVAC systems. The renovation project will save the Commonwealth money in the long-term while creating a safer flow of traffic from the East Wing to the rest of the Capitol building. 

Construction of the project is set to begin in July of 2024 and work is expected to be completed by August of 2025. The estimated timeline for the project, expected to total between $3 – $4 million, is as follows:

  • Demolition of the existing spiral staircase: July – August 2024
  • Construction of the elevator shaft: August – October 2024
  • Installation of the elevator: October 2024 – February 2025
  • Demolition of the existing escalators: March – May 2025
  • Installation of the grand staircase: May – August 2025

“Over the years, the escalators have been plagued by frequent failures, requiring significant maintenance and down time and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair costs. This renovation project and the installation of a new, large group elevator will increase access to and from the East Wing and first floor of the Capitol Building and better serve the public and the public servants who visit the building every day,” said DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil. “The project will streamline the flow of visitors, legislators, and staff throughout the East Wing of the Capitol building, while providing maintenance and utility savings to the Commonwealth.”
Instead of maintaining or replacing the existing escalators that are subject to frequent failure, DGS will install a grand staircase that will save the Commonwealth money by eliminating the annual costs of the escalators’ maintenance and equipment upgrades – which DGS spent nearly $250,000 on over the last five years. The staircase – which will rise gradually from the East Wing concourse to the first floor of the Capitol and include an intermediate landing that will be installed after the large elevator is operational – will also provide a safer, more reliable evacuation route in case of an emergency.

Other East Wing Capitol improvements that DGS will make as part of this project include: 

  • Cafeteria upgrades: The existing acoustical ceiling and dated lighting fixtures will be replaced by LED flat panel fixtures. HVAC system improvements, which will enable DGS facilities staff to better control the indoor environment of the cafeteria. The dishwasher exhaust fan and ductwork also will be replaced.
  • Rotunda lighting upgrade: The original construction of the rotunda included neon lighting within the cove near the top, under the skylight. The neon lighting system is nonfunctional and will be replaced with a modern LED system. The LED lighting system will be significantly more energy efficient and will provide the ability to change the color of the lighting for special events under the rotunda.