60 years after the current, once-temporary Alabama State House opened its doors, lawmakers and members of the public can now picture what the future, permanent home of the Alabama Legislature will look like.
The announcement was made in a letter addressed to legislators, detailing the latest plans for a new State House, located across the street from the current.
Signed by Othni Lathram, Secretary of the Legislative Council; Patrick Harris, Secretary of the Senate; and John Treadwell, Clerk of the House, the letter reviewed a process that formally began in September 2022.
It included slides showing the external design of the new building, layouts of the House and Senate chambers on the fifth floor, as well as large committee rooms on the second floor.
“On April 25, 2023, the Secretary for the Council executed an inter-agency agreement with RSA to solicit proposals from qualified architectural/engineering firms for consulting, development, design, cost estimating, testing, and related services to study the design and potential construction of a new facility to serve as the Alabama State House,” the letter read.
The timeline culminates at Oct. 27 when the design subcommittee approved the current design.
“Based on the approval of the initial design, we expect site work to proceed immediately and foundation work to begin shortly after the first of the year,” the letter read.
The current State House was never intended to be a permanent legislative facility. Originally built as the headquarters of the Alabama Highway Department, it became the de facto State House after a fire at the State Capitol destroyed the original House and Senate chambers in 1961.
Over the years, the make-do arrangements have increasingly raised concerns about safety and logistics.