Supply shortages delay opening of new $40 million visitor center at Michigan State Capitol

LANSING, MI — National supply shortages have delayed the opening of a new $40 million visitor center at the Michigan State Capitol, which was originally scheduled to open in May this year.

Heritage Hall, a 40,000 square foot underground facility being built at the west end of the Capitol, is now expected to open to the public by the end of June, said Rob Blackshaw, executive director of the Michigan State Capitol Commission.

Blackshaw attributed the delay to national supply chain shortages, including a shortage of aluminum. Project makers were unable to source enough aluminum, which is being used to frame a giant glass wall in the facility’s main meeting room.

“We anticipated many supply chain issues and managed to overcome them and get things done on time. But, in the end, there were a few things we couldn’t beat,” Blackshaw told MLive. “One of them was aluminum. The manufacturer could not obtain raw material from its supplier. »

Blackshaw said supply shortages did not result in any cost overruns in the project’s budget.

The new visitor center, first approved in 2019, will largely serve as a staging space for school tour groups, which is the main source of visitors to the Capitol. About 200,000 students visit the Capitol each year, Blackshaw said.

Students will be able to be dropped off on Ottawa Street and enter the building directly through the visitor center, instead of having to be dropped off at the library and Michigan Historic Center a few blocks away, Blackshaw explained.

“Providing a facility where they (students) can be dropped off 30 feet from the doors and immediately enter a heated, safe facility is a better thing for students in Michigan,” he said.

The facility will also provide space for legislative events and private gatherings, and have spaces for meetings and catered events, Blackshaw said.

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