While Congressional staffers take long lunches and early happy hours over recess, Architect of the Capitol staff will be hard at work, using a vacant campus as an opportunity to carry out much-needed construction.
“The month of August is one of the AOC’s busiest times of the year, and we will be working on numerous projects,” AOC spokeswoman Eva Malecki said in an email. “Many projects are currently ongoing, such as the sidewalk replacement around the campus, the repairs to the exterior southwest stairs of the Russell [Senate Office] Building and the Trophy Room ceiling conservation in the Capitol. General projects across the Capitol campus include maintenance, painting, cleaning, repaving and equipment upgrades.”
The tunnel that runs between the Capitol and the Cannon House Office Building will be partially obstructed as workers repair the concrete ramp nearest the Capitol.
“Due to the deterioration of the concrete, the ramp has several large cracks,” House Superintendent William Weidemeyer wrote in a letter to Member offices. “As construction begins in each section, certain areas will be closed and signs will be placed to reroute pedestrian traffic.”
Vehicle traffic will be detoured in the G2 and G3 levels of the Rayburn House Office Building garage, though the facilities will remain open for parking.
The G2 repairs will focus on spalled concrete that is deteriorating. In G3, workers will remove a suspended ceiling system near the garage’s entrance, install scaffolding, remove and replace sprinkler and lighting systems, and demolish plaster and cement along the ceiling.
In the Ford House Office Building, workers will replace ceiling tiles, which will necessitate blocking off small areas of the cafeteria. The AOC is also going to build an exterior assembly shelter at the House of Representatives Child Care Center in the Ford building.
“This work will include the construction of an assembly shelter for the children to gather under during evacuations, in order to escape the dangers of extreme heat and other inclement weather,” Weidemeyer wrote.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.