Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/5/2012 (1859 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The two bison are encased in plywood and the foyer area around the grand staircase is slowly being blocked off.
Soon, workers high above on scaffolding will start replacing the nearly century-old skylight that's one of the main features of the historic Manitoba Legislative Building.
"It's just regular home maintenance, said Chris Hauch, an assistant deputy minister of accommodation services for the province.
"The glass is aging and some of the frame and some of the structure above is aging and it's starting to leak a little bit. It's like anything else that you're doing in a very old home -- you get to the point where you need to change it out."
Hauch said the project involves replacing the structure on the building's roof that protects the original glass interior skylight -- what you see when you look up -- from the elements. The glass in the interior skylight will be replaced and the ornate ceiling bulkheads and the area around the skylight's opening will be repainted.
"That whole area will look better because it will be brighter," Hauch said. "It'll be cleaner and have newer glass. Everything we do in that building we have to be mindful of heritage preservation. It's not going to be dramatically different, but it will last another 100 years and bring it back to its original lustre."
The skylight is one example of the reoccurring patterns found in the building, which opened in 1920.
The replacement project will cost about $1.5 million and take until mid-September to complete.
The two bison have been protected by plywood, as has much of the surrounding area, as precautionary measures. The grand staircase will remain open during the work.
The province also plans to install up to 86 wooden screens on the building's windows, continuing work that began last year. Most of the 350 original, hand-crank metal windows in the legislative building open, but do not have screens.
"Being near the river there are a fair number of bugs, mosquitoes, wasps and squirrels that come in," Hauch said. "The screens that we're putting in have to match the building. The screens are red oak and stained to match the existing window woodwork."
Recently completed work at the legislative building includes the removal of three older mechanical cage elevators, replaced by newer elevators in part to allow for greater public access. The cage elevators required an operator to move between the basement and third floor and were closed in the evening.
"The approach that we take with the building is the approach that one would take with any older structure," Hauch said. "You're protecting it from water infiltration. You're upgrading mechanical equipment and you're doing cosmetic repairs and trying to bring the building back to its original state."