Capitol Visitor Center Hallway Flooded Briefly After Storm Drain Breaks
Friday, June 5, 2009
A broken storm drain flooded a hallway inside the new $621 million visitor center at the Capitol late yesterday, officials said.
A joint failed in the drainage system, sending rainwater pouring through the ceiling outside the North Congressional Meeting Room, said Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol. The flooding did not cause significant damage and was cleaned up within an hour after it was discovered about 5 p.m.
The incident happened in an area of the underground structure that is not part of the center's tour, and doors close to the public at 4:30 p.m., Malecki said.
The ceiling will be repaired today and the center will be open as usual, she said.
"Even new equipment fails. We've had a lot of rain. Sometimes these things happen," Malecki said.
The Capitol Visitor Center, which opened in December, is underneath the East Plaza of the Capitol grounds between Constitution and Independence avenues. The center includes a great hall, a cafe, gift shop and a TV studio for senators. At almost 580,000 square feet, the building is about three-quarters the size of the Capitol itself.