October 13, 2023
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia General Assembly’s airy new legislative building, home to lawmakers’ offices and the committee rooms where much of the Legislature’s work is done, is set to open to the public later this month after years of planning, construction and delays.

The nearly $300 million modernized facility — constructed on the same footprint of its cramped, asbestos-laden predecessor near the Thomas Jefferson-designed Capitol — will offer improved conditions for those who work there. It will also provide better access, comfort and convenience to members of the public who visit Richmond to engage with their representatives, state officials involved in the project said on a press tour Thursday.

“This is going to be more beneficial to people who are interested in the process or have concerns to bring before the Legislature. It’s going to be a better-functioning building overall,” said Susan Clarke Schaar, the longtime Senate clerk who helped oversee the project.

The 15-story building — 14 above grade and one below — has a 12,000-person capacity and a bank of speedy elevators. It will have larger committee rooms, comfortable public seating areas, a post office location, upgraded security features and lactation rooms for new parents. A much-expanded dining area that includes a coffee bar will be open to the public year-round despite the Legislature’s part-time schedule, officials said.

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