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CVC Watch

Since before major excavation began on the Capitol Visitor Center in 2002, the Architect of the Capitol’s photography division has been documenting the project during periodic fly-overs of the East Front construction site. [IMGCAP(1)]

As of this month, AOC photographers have taken to the air more than 25 times in their effort to create a complete record of the largest expansion project in the more than 200-year history of the Capitol.

The latest photo, taken two weeks ago, shows a nearly completed East Front plaza covered in more than 200,000 eight-inch square paving stones. Before excavators began digging a hole for the three-story underground structure in August 2002, the plaza had been covered in asphalt and mostly used for Member and staff parking.

The CVC plaza and its surrounding landscape were designed to better conform with 19th century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision of the Capitol grounds as a park-like setting. The latest aerial photo shows several dirt-covered sections that, later this summer, will be handed over to AOC landscapers for sod placement. It is interesting to note that a total of 85 new trees will replace the 68 that had been removed to create the 580,000-square-foot CVC. Thirty-four tulip poplars already have been planted along the sloping walkways that will lead to the new public entrance zones beneath the plaza.

Along with the heavy lifting going on inside the visitor center this week, the House Appropriations subcommittee on the legislative branch will be back at work on the project on Wednesday when it will hold its fourth CVC progress hearing since the beginning of the year.

— John McArdle

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