CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia state Capitol campus could grow as far west as Laidley Field and Veazey Avenue in the east should state officials choose to follow the latest version of the Capitol Complex Master Plan.The new conceptual design plan, unveiled Friday by the state Department of Administration, also calls for the construction of six new office buildings, three standalone parking garages and a daycare in order to accommodate employee overcrowding at the statehouse.
The plan doesn't require state leaders -- either current or future officials -- to build or fund the projects it recommends. Rather, it provides a framework for expanding the complex in a way that honors Capitol architect Cass Gilbert's original vision for the facility.
"The purpose of this comprehensive plan is to serve as a guide that state officials may utilize in the future when proposing changes, renovations or expansions to the state Capitol complex," said Diane Holley-Brown, spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration.
"This resource will serve as a useful tool when making future decisions affecting the State Capitol complex," she said.
The state signed a nearly $888,000 contract in 2009 with Pennsylvania-based consulting firm Michael Baker Inc. to come up with the plan.
While staff at Michael Baker spearheaded the project, they worked with consultants from other firms to develop specific aspects of the plan.
RMJM Hillier handled historic architectural and planning, Heritage Landscapes provided landscape design, System Planning Corp. offered security planning aspects and Walker Parking provided parking planning services.
This is actually the sixth version of a master plan for the statehouse campus.
Gilbert originally began work on one in early 1934, but he died later that year before completing it. His son, Cass Gilbert Jr., drew up a second master plan in 1940.
The younger Gilbert's plan led to the construction of what's now known as Building 3, which used to house the Division of Motor Vehicles. A design team from Charleston-based firm Zando, Martin, and Milstead produced another plan in 1966 which called for construction of current buildings 5, 6 and 7.
C.E. Silling Associates drew up another master plan in 1988, though the only recommendation implemented from it was the closure of Washington Street East in the campus area.
Tag Studios and Sasaki Associates, Inc. drew up another master plan in 1994, though nearly all of its recommendations have been ignored.
With so many different architects designing various aspects of the Capitol complex over the years -- and the fact that many of their ideas failed to be carried out in full -- the latest plan is designed to provide a "holistic, comprehensive, cohesive and organized plan" to improve and grow the campus.
It also goes beyond guiding building architecture, but the more functional aspects of the Capitol area.
"Unlike other plans of the past, this plan addresses not only the facilities, but parking, security, landscaping, utilities, energy conservation and access to and on the campus," Holley-Brown said.
The plan features seven phases. The first two phases, to be completed over the next eight years, mostly call for landscaping, security and utility improvements.
A new, 12,000-square foot stage for hosting public events would be built in this time.