4/13/2018 12:21:00 PM Renovations continue on governor's mansion
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Executive Mansion is continuing its $15 million renovation as the building prepares to reopen in July.
The governor’s residence has been undergoing renovations for the past year after decades of neglect.
Improvements include making the building accessible for people with disabilities, adding a kitchen to the private residence and installing new flooring and paint.
“We were engaged with the Illinois Executive Mansion Association in 2015 to kind of assess the deterioration of this building and what we should do with it,” said Laura Hochuli, the project’s lead architect. “Everybody knew it needed a lot of work, but nobody quite knew how to go about it.”
The renovation also aims to illustrate more of the building’s 162-year history, according to association officials.
“A big part of what the association wanted to do was show the story of, not only the building, but the history within,” Hochuli said.
The mansion will feature exhibits about the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, life during the Civil War and the children who have lived in the mansion. A project called “Art of Illinois” will showcase more than 80 pieces of fine and decorative art throughout the building.
Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife are scheduled to move back into the residence next month.
“I’m very proud to say we’re going to change it pretty dramatically,” Rauner said Wednesday. “It used to have an eclectic mix of stuff in there from Europe and Asia and different things. We’re going to make it all Illinois, all day, every day.”
The association raised nearly $14 million for the renovation by April 2017. Updated fundraising figures have yet to be released.
The mansion is expected reopen to the public on July 14.