MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — A new statehouse could be coming to Montgomery. The Retirement Systems of Alabama is currently taking bids for the project.
Those with the RSA said they’re still in the exploration stages of planning this project, but one of the possible locations for the new building would be right behind the current one.
The RSA is asking architectural firms to submit proposals, including information about site surveying, design review and estimated cost.
The current statehouse is 60 years old and showing its age.
“It’s just a sad building. Not even ADA compliant,” Secretary of the Senate Patrick Harris said. “That has to be improved, so that we got a standard of government that people can see and watch and function in.”
Harris said this new building is much needed. He said about 42,000 people come through the statehouse every year, and the building is not fit for visitors or the legislature.
“We’ve had two fires over the past 18 months,” Harris said. “We’ve had a couple people fall on tour groups in the stairwell because when all the fourth graders come up and all the chaperones, they have to use the stairwells because we’re limited in elevator space.”
He says he’s glad to see the RSA involved in the construction considering its ownership of several buildings in Montgomery. Those with the RSA said Alabama’s legislative council reached out to them about the project.
📲Download the WHNT News 19 App to stay updated on the go.
📧Sign up for WHNT News 19 newsletters to have news sent to your inbox.
🏆Find today’s top stories on WHNT.com for North Alabama and southern Middle Tennessee.
“At the request of the Legislative Council, RSA is working with the Council to explore the construction of a new statehouse,” Neah Scott, RSA legislative counsel, wrote in a statement. “The Council reached out to RSA based on its expertise in the construction of office buildings, which could be helpful with this potential project. We are still in the exploration phase of the project so we do not have specifics on how the deal will be structured, but RSA building the state house and then leasing the building back to the Legislature is a possibility. RSA’s intention is to ensure that any deal reached is financially beneficial to our members.”
In a March 2020 assessment, engineers determined it would cost more than $50 million to address the building’s many needs and more than $120 million to replace it entirely. The RSA is taking proposals until May 19.
The statehouse was an office building for the highway department until 1985 when lawmakers moved in from the capitol on what was supposed to be a temporary basis.