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CVC Watch

Another House panel will assert its authority over the Capitol Visitor Center this week when the House Administration Committee looks at the experience visitors will have when they tour the legislative branch.

Wednesday’s hearing won’t be the first time this session that Members have tackled CVC issues — after all, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch meets monthly to monitor the cost and construction timeline for the facility. [IMGCAP(1)]

But the House Administration hearing is expected to be the first of many that Chairman Robert Brady’s (D-Pa.) panel will hold to study the actual day-to-day functioning of the CVC, leading up to its planned November 2008 opening.

Terrie Rouse, the CVC’s newly appointed chief executive officer, is expected to present her vision for the operational direction of the facility, including planned exhibits and organizational programs, according to committee spokesman Kyle Anderson.

Tom Stevens, director of visitor services, will be on hand, and Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse will discuss security elements of the CVC, Anderson added.

The hearing comes at a time when work at the CVC is rapidly altering course. With more than 97 percent of the actual construction work finished, cleanup crews are preparing the facility for lengthy life-safety inspections.

But some construction work does remain, and the CVC entrance zones have been the focus of much of those efforts in recent days.

Last week, masons completed installation of granite pavers — stones that can withstand heavy beating from foot traffic — on the north entrance plaza, and this week they will focus that installation on the south side.

Crews also are expected to install bronze cladding around doors and window frames near the entrance zone and the Congressional auditorium. Much of that custom work already is complete throughout the CVC site.

Inside the facility, workers have completed the installation of concrete slabs around both skylights in the Great Hall (expected to be renamed Emancipation Hall once legislation approving the change passes).

This week, crews will focus on installing electrical wire alongside some of the structural support cables below the skylights. That will allow small spotlights to illuminate the floor directly below the skylights during evening hours.

Over in the CVC Restaurant, crews have installed three of four bronze doors in the threshold on the eatery’s north side that separates public space from Congressional space. Fixtures and stainless steel servery bins will continue to be installed in the restaurant itself this week, while professional cleaning crews prepare equipment for upcoming inspections.

One place where work remains is the tunnel between the CVC and the Library of Congress. Much of the major plaster and stone work is finished in the tunnel and the transition zone in the Thomas Jefferson Building, but stone work remains in the screening zone just west of the Jefferson Building. Installation of ceiling panels could begin in the tunnel this week.

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