TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton is undergoing a massive renovation project.
It’s been described as the first major overhaul in a century. But is it worth its $283 million price tag?
As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, crews have spent the last year removing everything that’s non-historic from the executive offices, working to find out the condition of the building that dates back to 1792.
“We’re going to underpin the foundations of this building,” Raymond Arcario, executive director of the New Jersey Building Authority, told Grymes.
Former Gov. Chris Christie spearheaded the overhaul and got the financing approved. At the time, he said the building was in dire need of enormous repairs.
“It impacts the health and safety of the people who work here and visit here,” he said.
Arcario says the building is structurally sound, but there’s years of extensive water damage. Not to mention, no building-wide heating or air conditioning system, leading to decades of piecemeal duct work and temporary units.
As for the cost, state officials say the project is incredibly necessary and, right now, under budget.
“This is what the funding for this project is going to be used for. It clearly is needed, but that is not to say there are not other very worthy causes in the state,” said New Jersey State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio.
Taxpayers had mixed reactions.
“Take some of it and make repairs on the building. But the majority of it should be spent on the general public, more or less,” Harold Roan, of Hoboken, said.
“Three-hundred million – that’s a heavy price tag. But being a historic building, they should do it,” said Shawn Flaherty, of Jersey City.
State officials say crews are on schedule, with an estimated completion in 2022. They expect crews to start full-scale building in the statehouse in early 2019.