After faulty install led to corrosion, a new copper dome is in place atop the Arizona Capitol

The Arizona Capitol’s copper dome being replaced/Courtesy of the Arizona Department of Administration

By Mary Jo Pitzl | Arizona Republic

Just in time for the start of the 55th Legislature, the Arizona Capitol has a shiny new copper dome.

It’s the third time in 47 years the dome has received a copper makeover, this one at a cost of $870,000.

And it comes just a decade after the last project, which replaced a hail-damaged roof in time for the state centennial in 2012. Its comparatively short life was due to what state building officials believe was a flaw in its installation.

Copper sheathing was laid out on the dome and then sealed. During the gap between rolling out the copper panels and sealing them, dust and other particles landed on the copper and got embedded in the metal, said Megan Rose, a spokesperson for the state Department of Administration. 

That caused the copper to corrode, turning it a dark black.

The Arizona Capitol’s copper dome before being replaced.

This time, the copper was sealed inside a warehouse, “which makes a big difference in keeping the actual copper color,” she said.

The project wrapped up Dec. 31.

The copper was supplied by Western States Metal Roofing, but whether its DNA can be traced to Arizona copper mines is difficult, Rose said.

“Because it’s recycled copper, we can’t tie it to a particular place,” she said.

The recycling continues with the copper that was removed in the fall. Rose said discussions are underway on how to reuse that material.

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