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State Capitol's public entrance could be on line for a face lift

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Changes could be coming to the public entrance of the state Capitol building in Bismarck.

In 2017, metal detectors were installed at the south entrance. That was during the DAPL protests. But the Legislature decided to keep them in place, and made the south entrance the only one the public could use.

"This was such a long, cold winter," said Rep. Don Vigesaa (R-Cooperstown). "When you walked down that long, cold hallway, and you went past the front entrance, it was like a cold blast of air was coming through there continually."

Vigesaa said the officers who were stationed at the metal detectors wore gloves and coats.

The plan is to use the existing tunnel, which had been closed to traffic several years ago, as a security measure. Vigesaa said mew public entrances would be placed at both ends of the tunnel. He said placing the entrances there would help keep things warmer.

"The entrances would lead into a large lobby, that would be very welcoming - and warm," Vigesaa said. "We would also have the security a little more integrated into the building, instead of having those stand alone magnetometers, which are kind of unsightly."

Vigesaa said that entrance would be more pleasing to the eye, and more convenient for the public.

The money would come from existing capitol building funds. Vigesaa said the project had been approved by the Capitol Grounds Planning Commission, and the spending authority would be added to the Office of Management and Budget.

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