CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The desks are gone from the state Senate chamber, the chairs are in storage, the carpet is covered with drop cloths and its big crystal chandelier hangs eerily close to the ground, dark and shrouded in plastic.
Huge metal scaffolding fills the room from one end to another.
It all looks like a stage set for some "Phantom of the Opera" production, but this is just what it takes to paint a room with really high ceilings.
The state Senate recently hired the Charleston contracting firm W Q Watters to clean and paint the chambers, which was last done about 15 years ago.
"It was just time for a cleaning and a painting," assistant senate clerk Lee Cassis said. "Rather than trying to patch it, it takes so much to do it, we're just going to have the whole thing done."
The scaffolding, painting and cleaning will cost about $150,000.
Cassis said the repair bill could grow if workers uncover additional damage to the chamber, although he said that's unlikely.
The last time the state Senate chambers were repainted in the 1990s, workers found the seal around the chamber's glass dome was badly damaged, causing water damage to the dome. Cassis said that seal is now in good shape, however.
"We don't think there's any water damage," he said.
The chamber's ceilings were in bad repair, however, with the paint cracking and peeling.
"We'd find it on the floor, on the senators' desks," Cassis said.