Combining Cass Gilbert’s eye for style with 21st Century security needs is a challenge for the state Department of Public Safety. Cabinet secretary Joe Thornton says they are hoping the hiring of a consulting firm will help them make the right decisions for the capitol grounds.
“Basically they’re a landscaping architectural and engineering firm,” Thornton said of GAI Consulting. “They’ll present ideas that will fit into the theme of the capitol and try to help us implement security measures that aren’t striking to the public.”
Past efforts at security have drawn heaps of criticism on Thornton’s agency. The most glaring mistake was the installation of the bollard barriers near the west entrance which caused a stir among historical purists.
Thornton says they understand the criticism, but some things just have to be done.
“We’re not looking to make a fortress out of the capitol,” he said. “But certainly the theme around the United States with capitol grounds and office buildings is enhanced security measures.”
GAI will study the needs at the capitol and compare them to Gilbert’s plans for the building and offer ideas to see how the two can mesh. Thornton says in some cases it’s possible to combine aesthetic enhancements which also double as security measures.