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You Paid for It: Capitol renovation raising eyebrows

SPRINGFIELD -- We've all heard about the state's financial woes; $7 billion in unpaid bills, $100 billion owed to the pension system. That's why a new renovation at the Capitol is getting some attention.
SPRINGFIELD -- We've all heard about the state's financial woes; $7 billion in unpaid bills, $100 billion owed to the pension system. That's why a new renovation at the Capitol is getting some attention. The state bought some shiny new doors, and You Paid for It. WCIA-3's Steve Staeger has the details.

The doors cost about the same price as a nice home. In total, the state spent $50 million on the Capitol renovation. It was supposed to improve the heating and air conditioning and bring the building up to code. But we're finding out it did a lot more than that.

Sarah Bradley of Williamsville said, "That's a lot of money for doors."

And she's right. The state spent $669,000 for three sets of doors, part of a $50 million renovation project. It's a number that's making waves in state government right now, and has taxpayers mad.

Chicago's Margaret Meany said, "All a door does is open and close, so I'm thinking the old doors worked pretty well."

Ken Meany says they may look real nice, but "in today's times, I'd say no doors should cost more than an average car. This one's more like an average house."

Maybe not your "average" home. After a little research, we found a four-bedroom, four-bathroom home on three acres in Springfield. The cost: $19,000 less than those doors.

The Capitol architect defends the purchase, saying it's helping bring this historic building back to its original splendor. But with a stack of unpaid bills, and billions in pension debt, critics say now isn't the time.

"When the recession is over, go back and do it the way you want to do it. In the meantime, make do with what's there," Ken Meany concluded.

The Capitol architect wasn't available for an interview, but through e-mail, says these aren't supplies you can pick up at the hardware store adding, it takes craftsmen to keep the building historically-accurate.

Governor Quinn issued a statement that he's concerned with the architect's priorities and decisions.
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