Legislative Hall in Dover is undergoing more than $285,000 in renovations, according to the state Office of Management and Budget.
It’s the first major maintenance project in more than a decade.
But like a lot of things involving the state capitol building, the renovation project comes with its share of controversy.
Among the upgrades was $46,000 for the first floor and basement office area, including improvements to the office of the Senate pro tem, occupied by Sen. Anthony DeLuca (D-Varlano). According to DeLuca, the change upgrades the office’s security by adding an outer office waiting area that physically separates the office from the hallway.
DeLuca says they are changes that were recommended to him.
“Security in Legislative Hall has been an issue for the past several years, and in the past, we’ve been advised that the pro tem’s office should have the same sort of buffer the offices for the Speaker of the House, Governor, Lt. Governor and the House and Senate minority leaders have,” he said.
He says the Office of Management and Budget reviewed his request and “agreed that there was a need for the work.”
Sen. Joseph Booth (R-Georgetown) agrees more security was needed.
“There is no doubt that the office was too accessible,” he said.
But Senate Minority Whip Liane Sorenson (R-Hockessin) thinks the changes to Deluca’s office were not necessary.
“The office should be safe already because everyone who enters the building goes through a security check point,” she said. “Even before the renovation, there was a receptionist at the entrance to his office who screens each person.”
Other projects in, around and under Leg Hall include $7,600 for carpeting in the Joint Finance Committee room; $25,000 for an underground fuel storage tank project: and $208,300 to paint the exterior.
“I don’t think any of it was needed,” said Senate Majority Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford). “Although I will admit the exterior of the building did need a good paint job. Other renovations could have waited.”
The projects were funded by the Minor Capital Improvement and Equipment programs and the OMB Environmental Budget.