Gold Dome Atop Old Capitol in Iowa City Set for a Glow-Up
The refurbished gold leaf installed on top of the Old Capitol in Iowa City in 2003 has been slowly fading and flaking away ever since, and according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, it's time for a "glow-up".
The type of gold leaf installed on the building is supposed to last 30-35 years, so it's falling apart well before its expected expiration date. It's been determined that the best approach to replace it is to "regild" the dome.
Bids will start in February
OPN Architects, who did the 2003 gilding, was commissioned by the University of Iowa to study the project and deliver a report for $23,500, suggesting regilding with new gold leafing for just over $500,000, rather than the more expensive option of putting on a new, gold-colored sheet metal roof for nearly $700,000. The latter would not only be more expensive but take at least a year longer due to supply chain issues.
Work begins in the Spring
Removal of the existing gold leaf and underlying lead would start sometime this Spring and then, the work of replacing it would get underway this summer. The warmer temperatures would be more conducive to quality application, per OPN's report.
The historic landmark has seen many renovations
Having been built in the 1840s after Iowa City was chosen as the state capital at the time, the site has undergone a long timeline of renovations and updates. It wasn't home to the state capital very long, as the state legislature voted to give that distinction to Des Moines in 1857. The Old Capitol then became the first permanent building connected to the University of Iowa, and after a series of renovations in the 1970s, it was reopened as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
A fire in 2001 which ironically started during renovations, necessitated several more renovations, and we circle back to 2003 when the current gold dome was installed. It wasn't until 5 years after that 2001 fire that the Old Capitol was reopened, in 2006.
Learn more about the building's history and timeline of renovations at the University Of Iowa Old Capitol Museum website here.