The current renovation of the Idaho state Capitol – for which the capitol is closed to the public for 30 months – is being highlighted in a new display at the Boise Airport, along with the stately building’s history and future. The two-sided, three-panel display, located just past security and before the food vendors, details the history of the building from its predecessor to the current structure to the need for renovations. Among the needs: The state has grown significantly over the past century, but cramped committee hearing rooms offered little space for citizens who came to have their say on proposed new laws.
“Significant House or Senate hearings began to routinely include participating citizens filling every seat, standing in the aisles, and overflowing into the hallways,” the display notes. To illustrate that, the Capitol Commission and Idaho State Historical Society selected an Eye on Boise photo of a House Transportation & Defense Committee hearing, at which Chairwoman JoAn Wood is conducting the hearing while lobbyists, reporters, and citizens spill out the doorway of the packed hearing room, craning their necks to hear and see the action.
Also featured in the display are photos of the renovation process, behind-the-scenes peeks into portions of the capitol not usually visible, views of the soaring structure itself, historical photos and artist’s renderings of the hoped-for outcome: A renovated building with underground wings, much larger public hearing spaces, and modern technology and conveniences, but with the historical feel and original charm of the century-old domed sandstone building. Jack Kane, chairman of the Capitol Commission, said the display “will enlighten many out-of-state visitors and Idaho residents about the extraordinary work going on at the Capitol.”