The $621 million underground U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, which opened Tuesday following six years of construction, features exhibits, orientation theaters and a restaurant. It offers Capitol guests a more comfortable and educational experience, according to the office of the Capitol architect.
I can’t remember exactly how it came to my attention about the construction of this Visitor Center, but it certainly wasn’t from MSM or from any cable news network, but it was about a year ago and it was in the context of the delays and what seemed to be a lack of any organization, crews overlapping each other, re-do’s and things failing to pass inspection. But was it widely known that this massive expenditure of tax money was taking place? I don’t think so.
But at least Harry Reid is happy, and we want Harry Reid to be happy at all cost. He won’t be offended by sweaty, stinky tourists any more.
“My staff tells me not to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway,” said Reid in his remarks. “In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it’s true.”
But it’s no longer going to be true, noted Reid, thanks to the air conditioned, indoor space.
I heard him say this yesterday and it didn’t even sink in until I read his words this morning. He should have listened to his staff, but why didn’t he? Why did he find it acceptable and I suppose “cute” to say that? I wonder who he thinks the “tourists” are for the most part? Yeah, American citizens. Says a lot about how he feels about the people he is supposed to represent. Or is he using that statement to divert attention away from the excessive cost of this visitor center?
Ironic how this opening took place a day or two after the country was Officially declared to be in a recession.
I have a vague recollection of new offices for speakers of the House and Senate that are included in that new center. I don’t have time to verify that right now, but I’ll see if I can find details about that later today. That is if the dentist doesn’t kill me.
There’s not too much that has been written about the “working space” that was added for the House and Senate, except that there is 170,000 square feet which includes a two-story hearing room for the House and a television studio for the Senate. On the Senate side the studio is described as a state of the art recording studio so the Senators can do television and radio interviews that can be beamed via satellite to their home districts. On the House side, there is a new and spacious studio for press conferences.
All for the people. Always thinking about the people.
The opening was delayed many times (it has been under construction for about six years) but one of the lastest delays or slowdowns was said to be coming from the Office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose office helps schedule a timetable for when the test crowds could come through. Speaker Pelosi didn’t want to distract from the election. All the while, they are fighting over who will be assigned to what space.
See more about that gossip @ http://www.politico.com/blogs/anneschroeder/0608/Shenanigans_Capitol_Visitors_Center_drama_.html
And some photos @ http://dc.about.com/od/photosofmuseums/ig/PhotosCVC/
Posted: 12.03.08 Updated: 12.03.08 7:12 p.m.