MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama’s days-long deep freeze claimed another victim this Christmas: the Alabama State House.
A pipe located on the second floor burst, causing leaks and flooding on that floor, plus the first floor and the basement level. The flooding occurred in the northern parts of the building, where offices for the Secretary of State and the Department of Finance are located on the second floor.
On the first floor, the leaks affected the Alabama Public Television office and studio as well as a committee room.
Secretary of the Senate Pat Harris said crews had worked over the weekend to fix the pipe and contain the leak. Now, efforts are underway to dry out the ceilings and floors to prevent lasting water damage.
“I’ve said it many times, but this is an old building that comes with the many problems old buildings have,” Harris said. “One of those problems is old pipes that can freeze in weather like we’ve had, and when they freeze they’ll often bust.”
Alabama Daily News previously reported that the Legislative Council has taken the first of many needed steps to replace the State House by asking the Retirement Systems of Alabama to do a feasibility study for a new home for the Alabama Legislature.
Last year, an engineer’s report detailed nearly $52 million in needed repairs in the next decade, including to the HVAC and electrical systems, to keep the 60-year-old building functional. That pricetag didn’t include any renovations or improvements the public would see.
Harris recently appeared on APT’s Capitol Journal where he discussed the need for a new State House.
“You have to understand, this is the people’s building,” Harris said. “We probably run 14,000 school kids through here. In session, it averages 3,000 a month. They are walking up and down the stairwells, they are crowding in the hallways and galleries, but they can’t see what’s happening… When we’ve had hot button issues and people want to come to a committee meeting, then the fire marshal comes through and says these people can’t be in the hallways.”
See that interview below.