University of Iowa officials expect to hire an architect by the close of business today to handle the Old Capitol rebuilding project. It’ll take many months to restore the dome and cupola of the 160-year-old landmark on the Iowa City campus which was hit by fire in November. U-of-I spokesman Steve Parrott says the architect will be able to guide the complicated, expensive and delicate process.Parrott would like to see the campus centerpiece back to normal by next fall, but he says the preference is to do the job well, not to do it fast. The fire was kept from spreading beyond the roof by a 1920s-era concrete firewall below the cupola. Parrott says a temporary roof has been built on top of that area which will be in place until the rebuilding can start.The cost to rebuild Old Capitol is expected to top five million dollars. It’s still unclear how much of that will be paid for by the company whose workers started the fire by using open flame torches to remove asbestos. Nearly 32-thousand dollars has been raised so far by the University of Iowa Foundation.
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