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A Grand Achievement

Idaho Capitol is renovated, returned to public use

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The Idaho State Capitol in Boise has been returned to state government and the public after a three-year, $120-million renovation and expansion. The project was led by Utah-based construction and engineering firm Jacobson-Hunt Joint Venture.

Photo: Jacobson-Hunt JV
The Renaissance Revival Capitol is one of Idaho’s most significant historic structures, designed by Boise architects John E. Tourtellotte and Charles F. Hummel.
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McAlvain Group of Cos. of Boise was the design-build manager for the underground wings portion of the project, which included design work, excavation, concrete, flatwork, structural concrete, steel erection, waterproofing, rough carpentry, mechanical/electrical, fire sprinkler, some interior framing, drywall and stairway work.

McAlvain Project Manager Penny Dennis says the job was “pretty much a business-as-usual construction project for us.” It also provided a lot of jobs and kept money and resources in Idaho.


The Idaho State Capitol, a masonry and composite-steel building completed in 1920, serves as the primary state office building and meeting place for the Legislature.

Jacobsen-Hunt provided preconstruction and construction services for the restoration, as well as tenant improvements inside the new garden-level wings that connect to the east and west ends of the existing building. The joint venture also handled the work to stabilize the infrastructure of the Capitol, upgraded all systems and restored the building’s historic features.

John Maulin, vice president of operations for Boise architects CSHQA, was the project’s lead architect. He says all the mechanical and electrical systems were removed and replaced and a fire suppression (sprinkler) system was added to the building as well as data communication, a fire-alarm system and new elevators.

Jacobsen-Hunt’s involvement marked the first time the state has used a construction manager-at-risk.

“A pure construction manager acts as the owner’s agent,” Jacobsen-Hunt Project Manager John Emory says. “But in this case, we were a cross between a construction manager and a general contractor where we had a guaranteed maximum price.”

Garden Level

The project was a complete makeover of a building that had not undergone any major renovation since the above-ground east and west wings were completed in 1920.

All artifacts, both inside and outside the building, were removed in conjunction with the Idaho State Historical...

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