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Leg Hall could see upgrades to improve security and technology

Delaware Public Media

State lawmakers look at remodeling Legislative Hall.


The last work on the building was in the 1990's


That's when the east wings were built to give legislators their own individual office spaces in the almost 90-year-old building.


Now lawmakers plan to launch a new building study to consider upgrades to security and technology.


Senate President Pro Temp Dave Sokola says emerging technologies and the pandemic revealed a demand for greater access from the public.


“Maybe we will learn that we don’t have to expand the footprint that much because we’re also going to be talking with members of the public once we reopen and see how they respond," Sokola said.


Sokola suggests maybe instead of expanding meeting rooms, greater teleconferencing capabilities can be installed to allow the public to join meetings from anywhere.


He says this process will involve the public, including advocates who visit the building daily.


“They might notice things that I wouldn’t notice that would make their life easier," he said. "You wanna get different eyes to look at the same thing so — if it’s all legislators, you probably don’t need that many.”


Sokola says one example is surveying disability advocates to find out how Leg Hall can be more accessible for people with disabilities.


But, he adds, security is the top priority. Major renovations haven’t been made since before 9/11 and January’s insurrection at the U.S Capitol highlights the importance of better security.


Sokola says the first step is listening to Delaware Capitol Police to see what changes need to be done, such as changing the way door access works.


The building study should be completed in October of next year.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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