United States Capitol Visitor Center
United States Capitol Visitor Center is open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Inauguration Day. Tours of the U.S. Capitol are conducted from 8:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Tours of the U.S. Capitol are free, but tour passes are required. Click here for more information.
Construction of the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) was supervised by the Architect of the Capitol. That post was held by Alan Hantman, FAIA until his term expired on February 4, 2007; construction was then continued by then Acting Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, AIA, LEED AP.
The ceremonial ground breaking for the CVC took place on June 20, 2000. Although originally planned to be completed by January 2004, the final completion date (not including the Senate and House expansion space) was extended to December 2, 2008. The proposed cost was originally $71 million, but it has risen to $621 million. The CVC has caused controversy for being over budget and behind schedule. Much of this is blamed on the rising cost of fuel, post-9/11 security measures, and inclement weather. At a hearing on the CVC cost-overruns Representative Jack Kingston called it “a monument to government inefficiency, ineptitude and excessiveness.”
The first major construction contract, worth nearly $100 million, was awarded to Balfour Beatty (formerly Centex Construction), in the spring of 2002. This contract involved site demolition, slurry wall construction, excavation, construction of columns, installation of site utilities, construction of the concrete and structural steel, waterproofing, and construction of a new service tunnel. By July 2005, Balfour Beatty Construction completed all excavation and structural activities, and the roof deck covered the entire CVC structure.
Manhattan Construction Company was responsible for the build-out including, installation of electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems, coordination with existing Capitol building systems where the center connects within the Capitol building, and completion of the above ground East Front Plaza, with related site work and security elements.