The Legislature authorized and directed the project to proceed in 2014 through a combination of savings and inter-fund borrowing. (2014 Wyo. Sess. Laws, Ch. 40, Senate Enrolled Act 43, Original Senate File 103) By law, work on the Capitol, Herschler Building, below-grade connector, and central utility plant was authorized to proceed as a single construction project. These components are described below. There is a $299 million budget cap for the project, which includes design fees, administrative overhead, temporary space costs, enabling work, contingency funds, and approximately $219 million in construction.  

Saving Funds for the Project

In 2003, the Wyoming Legislature established an account to set aside funding for the project. Sources of funding consist primarily of reversions from other State construction projects and direct appropriations. The account had accumulated over $100 million by the start of the project in 2014. (2003 Wyo. Sess. Laws, Ch. 131, Sec. 332).  

Four Construction Components and Costs

The project is comprised of four interrelated construction components: the rehabilitation and restoration of the Capitol, replacement of the central utility plant, remodeling and expansion of the connecting tunnel, and remodeling and expansion of the Herschler Building. These major components, combined with site work and landscaping, total approximately $219 million in construction costs. 

  1. Capitol Rehabilitation and Restoration: The Capitol will undergo extensive rehabilitation to replace outdated building systems, add critical life safety infrastructure, and address public space needs. This invasive work creates the ability to simultaneously restore historic building features. The budget is approximately $110 million.   
  2. Central Utility Plant Replacement (CUP):  The existing central utility plant (CUP) will be replaced, relocated, and expanded to accommodate additional equipment. The CUP services five buildings in the Capitol Complex:  the Capitol, Herschler Building, Supreme Court Building, Barrett Building, and the Hathaway Building. The budget for this portion of the project is approximately $20 million.
  3. Connecting Tunnel Remodel and Expansion (Capitol Extension): The underground tunnel that connects the Capitol to the Herschler Building will be expanded underneath the Herschler Building extending almost all the way to 26th Street to accommodate public space needs that cannot be met in the Capitol. The budget is approximately $18 million. 
  4. Herschler Building Remodel and Expansion: The Herschler Building will be remodeled and expanded to house functions that have been displaced from the Capitol and to eventually move State employees who currently reside in leased space into State-owned space. The atrium on the north side of the building will be removed to improve building efficiency and security, and to restore views to the Capitol. The budget is approximately $63 million. 

Other project costs

  • Furnishings, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) totals approximately $8 million.
  • Design services total approximately $30 million
  • Administrative overhead totals approximately $7 million. 
  • An Owner’s Contingency fund of $20 million is included to address unanticipated needs for the project. 
  • Moving, tenant improvements for temporary space, and temporary space leases total approximately $16.5 million to date.
  • Other costs include enabling work such as parking improvements and pre-construction activities. 


One of the key directives from the Oversight Group to the project team has been to keep the project on budget, while also meeting the highest level of quality for the people of Wyoming. The Program Manager has developed guidelines to communicate the Oversight Group’s expectations for quality and cost to direct the work of the project team. 

Construction Cost Limitation

The Construction Cost Limitation (or CCL) is the amount in the contract with the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) for construction and totals $219 million of the total $299 million budget. This is also the amount the Architect of Record is required to meet in its design. The estimates provided for the components of the project are based on the current status of design and balancing the CCL. The State will enter into a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contract for construction that is equal to or less than the CCL. The GMP will be developed through implementation of early construction work packages to enable critical construction and provide the Oversight Group assurance that the project scope is within budget.  

Project Contingency Funds

The project budget includes the following contingencies to help maintain the CCL:  

  • 2-percent design contingency
  • 7.5-percent bidding contingency for management of market conditions on each bid
  • 5-percent construction contingency
  • 10-percent Owner’s contingency ($20 million) reserved for unanticipated costs. 

Controlling Against Cost Overruns

To reduce the likelihood of expensive change orders during construction, the project team is performing destructive examinations to complete final design work and cost estimating. The contractor has also ordered limited construction materials to insure their availability and to prevent future delays. 

Value Engineering and Risk Management Strategies

At the direction of the Oversight Group, using the design guidelines developed for the Capitol and the Herschler Building, the project team engaged in value-engineering efforts in 2015 to find avenues to maintain the budgets for each portion of the project. These efforts are intended to realize cost savings in the design of each component. The Oversight Group also approved a method to gain as much efficient square footage in the Herschler Building as the existing budget of $63 million for that portion of the project will allow, utilizing a core and shell strategy. 

  • Approximately $48 million of the $63 million budget will be used to expand the building, provide a new building exterior, replace the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and provide a new elevator core.
  • The remaining $15 million dollars will be reserved to ensure the overall project budget is balanced at $299 million and then to finish as much of the space in the Herschler Building as possible.  If savings can be obtained within this budget by preserving contingencies or employing value engineering strategies, those savings will transfer to the tenant improvement budget for the Herschler Building.  Approximately 187,000 square feet can be finished for $15 million, which would gain 14,000 net square feet more than the existing building, shelling remaining space for the future. 
  • Two meeting rooms and an auditorium in the connecting tunnel will be shelled until it is determined how much space can be finished within the budget after space is finished for the elected official staff.