Minnesota State Capitol officially open to the public - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Minnesota State Capitol officially open to the public

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Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) held a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. to officially open the newly renovated capitol. Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) held a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. to officially open the newly renovated capitol.
Visitors taking a look at the Only in MN hashtag on the capitol's front lawn. Visitors taking a look at the Only in MN hashtag on the capitol's front lawn.
One of several pieces of artwork inside the Capitol building. When combined, the artwork is estimated at $1 billion. One of several pieces of artwork inside the Capitol building. When combined, the artwork is estimated at $1 billion.
KTTC's Shannon Rousseau takes a picture inside the Minnesota House chambers during a tour. KTTC's Shannon Rousseau takes a picture inside the Minnesota House chambers during a tour.
View of the rotunda from the second floor. View of the rotunda from the second floor.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -

The Minnesota Capitol is back open.

The Capitol has technically been open since January after a $310 million renovation to the 112-year-old building kept it closed for several years. Construction crews were finishing up work on the building and its grounds until last month.

According to the Associated Press, the renovation restored the Capitol's crumbling roof, repaired heating and ventilation systems, and restored priceless artwork throughout the building. It also more than doubled the building's public gathering spaces.

The grand opening celebrations begin Friday, August 11th, and end Sunday, August 13th. During that time visitors can attend concerts, watch fireworks, and take guided tours. 

Festivities started at 9 a.m. on the Capitol steps as Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) and other politicians held a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the press and visitors.

Friday was an exciting day for Minnesota Capitol tourists, whether they were first time visitors or returning after several years. 

Adam Kauwenberg-Marsnik, who worked seven years for the legislative office library, was visiting with his husband. "I had a friend in from Vegas three years ago and it was all under repairs so I want to see it." Based on the building's exterior, he said it looked a lot nicer and very shiny.

Another person who's familiar with the building's inner workings is former KARE 11 news photographer, Aethan Hart. He worked in television for 43 years but worked at the Capitol for about 25.

"Jesse Ventura was the most interesting thing to cover. Great personality. Everyday was an adventure. Everyday was exciting, new, interesting, and I was proud to be a jackal."

But the mecca of Minnesota also drew in first time visitors, and they were in awe of the colorful paintings worth a combined $1 billion.

"When I first saw this building being worked on, finally there was some release to see what was in here," said first-time visitor Jose Figueroa.

The film producer from Puerto Rico said the building would be an ideal place for film making, and hopes to make that dream a reality. He could see movies similar to the 'Bourne' franchise or 'The Matrix' filmed within the Capitol's walls. "Anytime I see a location I think, 'what kind of movie could you make in here?" 

But besides seeing the business potential, Figueroa was in awe of the intricate details on the pillars and walls. "The building itself is art. You know there's art in it, but the building itself is art. It's a work of art."

Needless to say the Capitol exceeded his expectations. 

If you'd like to attend the Minnesota State Capitol's festivities, click here for a list of events going on this weekend.

Tours are free and reservations aren't required. 

The fireworks display will be Saturday at 9:30 p.m. on the Capitol lawn.

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