CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Like a kid with a brand new toy, House of Delegates Clerk Steve Harrison is quick to show off the nearly $2.4 million renovation of the House of Delegates Chamber.

Steve Harrison
(WV Legislative

Harrison took several reporters on a tour of the freshened up area Friday afternoon.

The work, which marks only the second renovation of the chamber since it was dedicated in 1932, began last fall and all that’s left are a few finishing touches. Delegates will be in the chamber full-time starting next Wednesday when the 60-day regular legislative session begins.

Harrison said it had been 28 years since anything substantial had been done to the space on the east end of the state capitol.

“If you looked closely you would see pealing (of paint) in the galleries and the worn carpet,” he said. “I think this will give an even better impression of our capitol and our state to visitors.”

Harrison said the House leadership worked hard to keep the historical integrity of the space. The planning included consulting with the Capitol Building Commission.

All 100 delegates black walnut desks have been refinished. Each delegate now has a new, smaller, easier-to-maneuver chair. There’s new carpet, red with a navy-blue studded gold starburst pattern, new sound panels and a new paint job.

Part of the renovation includes the renovation of all 100 delegate desks.

Contractors also removed thick red curtains that hid the corners of the chamber for decades. Now there’s more of the marbled room designed by famed-architect Cass Gilbert exposed.

Harrison said there are also many things you can’t see like all new wiring, 90 miles of cable to be exact, much of it under the floor that will help with a new sound system and digital voting board. There’s also a new elevated wire room in the area where the House Rules Committee meets.

Harrison likes two changes the best.

“The carpet really needed changed and adding the pattern just gives it a better look and then exposing the corners, exposing the marble I think just brightens it up,” he said.

House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw said he invites residents from across the state to the chamber to see what’s been done.

“I often talk about how everything we do in this building has the potential to affect all 1.8 million West Virginians, and I hope all West Virginians are able to take the time to come visit the people’s building and feel the pride I’m honored to experience every day when I come here to work,” Hanshaw said. “We have the most beautiful state capitol in the entire United States, and with this project we’ve been able keep our House Chamber looking its best while also improving safety, accessibility and modern-day functions.”