Business goes on as usual despite renovation of Lansing’s state Capitol building

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Remington Sawade

Pedestrians walk by the Michigan state Capitol undergoing a two year restoration project in downtown Lansing.

Remington Sawade

Pedestrians walk by the Michigan State Capitol building undergoing a two year restoration project in downtown Lansing. Photo by Remington Sawade.

LANSING — The idea of a construction project in the busy downtown area of an urban center often causes people to think of an excess of dirtiness and chaos.

The restoration and renovation of Michigan’s Capitol building and its’ climate control and electrical systems in downtown Lansing are not any of those things.

The $70 million project being completed by The Christman Company was subject to extensive planning and forethought according to Project Director Chad Clark.

“During the summer months we have water trucks out here … so that we don’t have dust … flying off of the site,” Clark says.

He says they also “anticipated needing offsite parking … because we demoed (demolished) a parking lot out back … plus with the construction operation we need to find … offsite parking for our trades because we can’t park everybody onsite.”

Clark says, additionally, street sweepers patrol the perimeter of the site daily to clean up any dirt and mud that makes it into the sidewalk or street from vehicles on the job site.

The increased traffic from construction vehicles is another factor Clark and The Christman Company spent time planning. Everything that a typical person would think of is addressed as well as things only those in the construction field would consider.

Clark and his team come up with what is known as a site logistics plan to answer all questions raised by a large construction project.

“At the onset of the project … we consider crane swing radiuses and where is the crane pad going to be … and what’s the flow of the site,” he says.

The disorder that can surround major construction projects is really a productive hum for the Capitol restoration. Director of Facility Operations for the Michigan State Capitol Robert Blackshaw says this extends to other businesses in the area.

Blackshaw says, “More local businesses are getting more money in their pockets because of the project … because the workers do go downtown at lunch and … buy things.”

Clark agrees that the many workers on the site bring business to the local area.

“Lunch time you’ll see, passing by our trailers, quite a few people, us included … we’re commonly going to lunch … not only management people but … tradesman, workers out in the field are walking downtown to get a bite to eat,” Clark says.

To see live updates on the restoration a live stream is available online.

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