West Virginia State Capitol

West Virginia State Capitol

West Virginia State Capitol

  • Comprehensive repairs to address bulk water infiltration at the upper dome.
  • Repair limestone units,
  • Install new lead-coated copper metal flashing and cladding
  • Replace internal drainage systems, including an interior gutter system and select drain leaders throughout the height of the building.
  • Comprehensive structural repairs to the inner dome hangers and clay tile backup walls at the interior rotunda.
Charleston West Virginia
Project Team
  • Owner:
    State of West Virginia –
    General Services Division
  • Engineer Of Record:
    WDP & Associates
    Rex Cyphers
  • General Contractor:

The West Virginia State Capitol Building was dedicated on June 20, 1932. Since the time of its construction, the structure has been faced with extensive water infiltration and deterioration issues affecting the dome and interior.

A field investigation was undertaken to determine the source of the water infiltration causing damage to the rotunda of the Capitol Building. The results of the investigation showed that the water infiltration started from the top of the gold dome. Based on the findings of the investigation, the State developed a repair project to address the conditions contributing to active bulk water infiltration, failed interior drainage systems, and subsequent damage to interior finishes. Ultimately, the State wanted to prioritize the safety, longevity, and historic preservation of the structure.

The project scope

To access the inner dome and interior rotunda, the crew used a self-supporting scaffold that would not touch the inner dome to prevent further damage. The crew replaced the deteriorated clay tiles at the top of the supporting walls with concrete masonry units at the colonnade level.

The project team designed a solution that allowed the dome to be held in place since part of the load is carried from the hangar system and dead load is at the bottom of the dome. By installing reinforcing steel throughout the original clay tile, then add grouting it to, the crew created a bond beam that spanned around the bottom of the dome, then supplemented it with shoring brackets and anchors to tie back to original columns. Lintels were installed to support the dome, so the team could remove the deteriorated clay tile. Crews also repaired and restored interior finishes within the inner dome and rotunda, installed new flat and ornamental molded plaster, repaired the upper dome’s portal windows, and replicated historical paint.

The exterior finishes also needed repairs and restoration on the upper dome and observation deck, new high-performance coatings, and gold leaf gilding. A part of these repairs included removing, cleaning, repairing and reinstalling the limestone at Spring Line Elevation. This was a challenge for the team because of the weight and size of the stones that needed repair. To overcome this, the team used the scaffolding and created a rigging system that used carts and hoists to move the stones easily. After the stones were removed, a new flashing system was installed below the stones to prevent water infiltration and protect interior finishes without being seen. With new metal flashing system in place, the water can penetrate the stone, but won’t get into the building and will be redirected back outside.

The State wanted to keep the unique details for historic preservation while bringing in new technologies to ensure longevity. The original panels with the original painter’s signatures were removed, salvaged, and reinstalled with the new interior finishes and some of the unique characteristics on the exterior limestones, such as erosion marks, were left untouched.

PULLMAN developed a robust Quality Program in order to manage the various trade subcontractors and ensure the historic work scopes required on this project are implemented meticulously. The entire project team, including the owner, was committed to PULLMAN’s Safety 24/7 practices and coming up with new, creative safety solutions for unforeseen and unique challenges. The project is scheduled to be completed on time.