Wyoming Chief Justice Michael K. Davis administers the oath of office to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow Monday in the still-unfinished rotunda of the Wyoming Capitol. The rotunda is a construction zone. (photo by Rachel Girt)

Wearing reflective safety vests, Wyoming’s five statewide elected officials took their oaths of office early Monday morning with a giant U.S. flag adding bright color to the still unfinished rotunda of the state Capitol.

Gov. Mark Gordon, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, Treasurer Curt Meier, and State Auditor Kristi Racines were elected in November. Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow was re-elected. Wyoming Chief Justice Michael K. Davis administered the oaths of office to each of the elected officials.

Gov. Gordon said that being sworn in at the Capitol held historic significance. “It was important to me to have this ceremony with the other constitutional officers in the people’s house,” he said in an official statement Monday.

Safety restrictions limited attendees to a small crowd of relatives and officials, the Associated Press reported.

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The Capitol renovation and rehabilitation project will cost well in excess of $300 million. Those costs include renovating the Herschler Building north of the Capitol and up to $16.5 million for housing the Legislature in the Jonah Business Center and for locating executive branch offices elsewhere in Cheyenne while the Capitol is unavailable.

Sandstone for the rehabilitation was cut in the original quarry south of Rawlins. Inside the building, ceilings lowered during the last renovation in the 1970s have been removed, exposing the full height of original windows and archways in other parts of the building. Many of the original skylights will be returned to use. The project includes remodeling the tunnel connecting the Herschler Building to the Capitol by adding an auditorium and installing large skylights.

The renovation should be complete later this year.

Dan Neal is the former executive director of the Equality State Policy Center. He worked for decades as a journalist in Wyoming, including as the special legislative editor for WyoFile.

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