A Bloomington architect is taking her passion for historic architecture to one of the state's most iconic structures: the Illinois Capitol building.
The state has named Andrea Aggertt its new capitol architect. Just the third person named to the position, Aggertt will oversee renovations to more than a dozen state buildings in the capitol complex where thousands of state employees work.
“For me to help find a space that is comfortable for them, let them efficiently do their job, that’s what I’m looking forward to,” Aggertt said.
“What it means for me is to help our community and our state to preserve some of the rich history that is offered in Springfield and to really focus on revitalizing those buildings that we want to be here decades from now for future generations to experience.”
The Illinois Capitol was built starting in 1868. Its last major renovation came in 2011.
Aggertt said her appreciation for the state capitol building dates back to her days growing up in the southeastern Illinois town of Newton. She recalled visiting the capitol during a junior high field trip.
“Coming from a very rural area in Illinois, I thought this was just amazing, what a cool building and structure,” Aggertt explained. “To see the amount of power that happens within those walls, it just struck me at that time.”
In the role which Aggertt started on Tuesday, she will wield some power of her own.
As Illinois approved its first capital bill in a decade earlier this year, setting aside $45 billion for construction projects across the state, Aggertt’s office has been allocated $350 million for renovations and repairs at the state capitol complex.
She will make recommendations to the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, which will have final say in where finds are allocated.
Aggertt said she wants to finalize a master plan to study the short- and long-term needs of the complex within the next year.
“At the forefront is the need to enhance sustainability and preserve most of the buildings and improve the grounds,” she said.
Aggertt worked for nearly 15 years at Shive-Hattery in Bloomington. Some of her architectural design work can be seen at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, State Farm, Caterpillar, Miller Park Zoo and Van Maur stores throughout the Midwest.
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