$6 million facelift for Florida Senate chambers gets debut

The renovated Florida Senate

The renovated Florida Senate

The Florida Senate debuted a $6 million facelift Monday — its first major overhaul in 40 years — on the eve of the Legislature’s organization session.

New desks, chairs, carpeting, a jumbotron for viewing bills and amendments, and a stained-glass window atop the chamber’s dome are all part of the renovation, which began the day after lawmakers ended the 2016 session in March. The state’s motto, “In God We Trust,” is also prominently displayed.

The work was initially proposed in the early 2000s, around the same time the House renovated its chambers, but was delayed to pay for upgrades to committee rooms and other Senate workplaces. Taxpayer dollars that covered the work were accumulated over several years in the Senate’s administrative account.

“It was time, it needed to be done,” said Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who hands the Senate leadership to incoming president Joe Negron, R-Stuart, whose district includes part of northern Palm Beach County.

Wooden Ionic columns were added at the front of the chamber, reminiscent of those which had been in the Senate chambers in the late 1940s, which was torn down when the state’s Capitol opened in 1978. The stained-glass ceiling also is a replica of a similar display in the state’s Historic Capitol.

Old Senate chambers, before renovation began

Old Senate chambers, before renovation began

 

 

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