Bond reflects on how he pushed through restoration of Kansas Statehouse

01/31/2014 7:03 AM

01/31/2014 7:03 AM

The challenge of rehabbing the Kansas Statehouse was how to keep the project going even after costs began to escalate.

A project that was supposed to run $40 million to $50 million eventually wound up costing $332 million.

Former Senate president Dick Bond of Overland Park, who is credited with spearheading the drive to fix up the old building, said he used a couple of tricks in the early days to keep the project alive.

One: He urged contractors to begin by restoring the state Senate chamber and leaving work on the House for later. The idea: Once House members saw how nice the Senate was, they would insist that workers restore their chamber as well.

Second, Bond told contractors to never clean up after they completed another phase of the massive restoration. That way, lawmakers would be inclined to appropriate more funds because they would see that much work still needed to be done.

“Keep it torn up, and they’ll appropriate more dollars,” he said.

In an interview on KCUR this week, Bond said the restoration would extend the work on the Statehouse for as long as another century, provided that the state continues to maintain it properly.

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