About our Restoration and Addition Project

Master Plan —
Executive Summary (July 19, 2000)

Prepared by CSHQA Architects/Engineers/Planners, Boise Idaho and isthmus Architecture, Inc/. Madison, Wisconsin

Idaho citizens have always maintained a great pride in their Capitol. This 80-year-old building bears its own history, revealing changes that have eroded some if its historic and architectural character through its lifetime. With the expansion of state government during the past three-quarters century, modifications have included the reconfiguration of spaces in order to accommodate new agencies, programs, and additional staffing. The alterations that occurred were often a catalyst to modify the finishes of the interior spaces to reflect changing tastes of those periods. During the last 20 years, there has also been the introduction of advancing technology. Building mechanical, electrical, and communications systems were sometimes added without complete consideration of the whole of the structure or sensitivity to the historical features of the building. As a result, many components of the original architectural design, including wall and floor finishes, lighting fixtures, ceilings, mechanical systems, and furnishings have been modified, again and again, to oblige the changing needs and individual preferences of building occupants. While the structural components and public spaces have been well preserved and maintained, the functional spaces of the building have been significantly altered throughout its lifetime.

In recent years, a heightened recognition of the building's architectural integrity and historic value has prompted planning efforts to establish a source for future facilities use and treatment. In 1998, the Idaho State Legislature, with the concurrence of Governor Phil Batt, created a body charged with overseeing a campaign to undertake a comprehensive, multi-year master planning and restoration effort. Appointed by former Governor Philip Batt, Idaho Capitol Commission members have enthusiastically and tirelessly guided the effort to ensure the historic preservation of the Capitol building and its continuing role as the functioning seat of State government.

The Commission's vision is the restoration of the Capitol to its original splendor by the year 2005, the centennial anniversary of the commencement of construction of the building. The Master Plan is envisioned to be implemented through a funding program combining private and public funds. To accomplish this goal, a comprehensive Master Plan for the restoration is being implemented and encompasses:

  • selection of an architect of the Capitol
  • selection of a master planning and implementation design team
  • establishment of citizen volunteer advisory committees
  • town hall meetings on the Master Plan throughout the State
  • completion of the Master Plan in April 2000
  • presentation of the Master Plan to the Governor and the Legislature in January 2001
  • restoration of the Capitol from July 2001 to July 2005

In July 1999, the Capitol Commission selected the Boise-based CSHQA Architects/Engineers/Planners and Isthmus Architecture, Inc. (Madison, Wisconsin) to research the history of the Capitol, formulate the Master Plan for its restoration, and implement the recommendations approved by the Commission. Extensive research of available historic archive materials, newspaper articles, discussions with individuals with intimate knowledge of the building, input from citizen groups, and on-site analysis has resulted in the development of a Master Plan to be used as a guideline throughout the restoration process. The plan describes four basic elements:

  • historic research that has resulted in recommendations for preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation of significant historic spaces and architectural details set forth in a Preservation Plan
  • analysis of the conditions of existing building systems, fire and lifesafety issues, and opportunities for increasing functional and operational efficiency with recommendations for correcting deficiencies and increasing the life of the building for another 50 to 100 years
  • analysis of current and projected space needs of building tenants and setting forth a recommendation of space allocation which best addresses the functional and spatial needs of those agencies or departments charged with development of public policy
  • development of timelines for the implementation and completion of the project by July 3, 2005, and preliminary budgets based upon the preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation recommendations included in each specific section of the Master Plan

Each section, describing specific systems, issues, or items of significance, contains descriptions and supporting rationale for preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, or correction of deficiencies. For ease of reference, recommendations or considerations are included within each elemental division and summarized as follows:

  • Preserve, restore, or rehabilitate interior areas as outlined in the recommended Preservation Plan.
  • To effect the objective that the Capitol building should house those branches of government and departments charged with developing public policy, allocating space in the Capitol for the Legislature and supporting functions including the Governor; Lieutenant Governor; Capitol offices for Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Controller, and Superintendent of Public Instruction; as well as the Idaho State Historical Society, legislative advisors, and media.
  • Install fire sprinkler and alarm systems to provide protection for the building occupants and structure and to mitigate inherent lifesafety deficiencies.
  • Correct miscellaneous safety and building code deficiencies including stair landings, handrails, door exiting hardware, and roof maintenance access.
  • Correct disabled accessibility deficiencies including installation of an accessible elevator.
  • Upgrade inadequate, inefficient, and outdated mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Correct miscellaneous structural deficiencies including stabilization of stone facing and parapets.
  • Provide infrastructure for enhanced technology communication systems.
  • Repair, restore, and clean exterior stone, windows, and roofing assemblies.
  • Replace deteriorated exterior stairs, walkways, areaway walls, and landscaping, and install exterior site lighting for enhanced safety, security, and historic context.
  • Replication of historic furniture in preserved and resorted areas identified in the Preservation Plan.

This Master Plan is intended to serve as a general framework to guide implementation of the restoration of the State Capitol through programming, schematic design, design development, and construction documents phases of the design process. Each design phase will refine the requirements and program of the project and result in specific solutions for individual and collective issues and goals. The end result will be restoration of our State's most cherished landmark by the centennial anniversary of the commencement of its original construction and provide functional and efficient use of the building for another 50 to 100 years. Please contact Jan Frew with any questions regarding the Master Plan or Preservation Plan.

Support Your Capitol

Purchase a Capitol license plate!

I want to:


    Commission Meetings
    Design and Construction Committee Meetings
      Meeting dates, times, and locations are subject to change.