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Missouri Governor's Mansion Renovations To Be Complete By October

Teresa Parson and Sherry Kempf walk through Missouri Governor's Mansion as renovations continue on Aug. 28, 2019.
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio
First Lady Teresa Parson (left) and project manager Sherry Kempf observe mansion renovations on Wednesday.

The Missouri Governor’s Mansion has been under renovation since mid-June, and despite unexpected structural issues, it is set to reopen on schedule at the end of October. 

The $3.8 million project includes upgrades to the electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems throughout the mansion. Most notably, the heating and air conditioning systems are being replaced. 

Project manager Sherry Kempf said there have been five different systems, and currently they are not integrated. This has caused temperature and humidity problems, which resulted in water damage in several places throughout the building. 

Another major project is revamping the piping system. Several of the pipes had rusted and clogged over time, which also resulted in water damage. 

Sircal Contracting works on the new HVAC system at the Governor's Mansion on Aug. 29, 2019.
Credit Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio
The new heating and cooling system is the biggest part of the renovations. There are currently five different systems that have caused condensation and water damage throughout the mansion.

Kempf said there have been several unexpected issues as the contracting team began its work. 

“We have structural issues with the dining room beam failing,” she said. “That beam has to be reinforced with a new steel beam. We ran into some structural issues on the sun porch with the columns, and we need to reinforce those with some new I-beams, as well.”

First Lady Teresa Parson said the dining room is directly below the master bedroom. Because the beam was not structurally sound, there was a noticeable dip in the bedroom floor. 

Despite these issues, Kempf said the work should be finished by Oct. 25, and mansion tours could begin again in December. 

“You know, all of those unforeseen conditions that you address on a daily basis do have their effect on the project, but we are doing our best to stay on schedule and meet the project completion date,” Kempf said. 

The renovation is so extensive that Gov. Mike Parson and the first lady were required to move out. They were relocated to a modest two-bedroom home at the National Guard base in Jefferson City. The home is typically reserved for military dignitaries visiting the capital city. 

The Parsons' are staying in a home at the National Guard base while renovations on the mansion are being completed. Aug. 29, 2019
Credit Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio
The Parsons are staying in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home at the National Guard base in Jefferson City.

The only request from the Parsons was a couple of chairs on the front porch. Teresa Parson said that a few days later, they received two wooden rocking chairs that were previously at the mansion. 

When asked what it was like living in such close quarters again, she joked that there are “two bathrooms, so we have our own little areas to go to, I guess.” 

The mansion was built in 1871, and Kempf said this is the costliest renovation done to date. While several of the upgrades won’t be outwardly noticeable for visitors, she said they were needed to prolong the life of the mansion.

Follow Jaclyn on Twitter: @DriscollNPR

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Jaclyn is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.