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Reps. Urdahl, Dean to speak during Capitol restoration forum at CLC

State Reps. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, and Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, will be featured speakers during two forums hosted by Central Lakes College to discuss an extensive state Capitol restoration project.

The public is invited to attend the Rosenmeier Forum sessions, which will take place at noon and 7 p.m. Sept. 16 in the college’s Chalberg Theatre, Brainerd campus.

Urdahl and Dean are members of the Capitol Preservation Commission, a 22-member panel which is overseeing a massive $300-plus million refurbishing of the 110-year-old Capitol in St. Paul. The building’s roof was leaking and the exterior was crumbling. Mechanical systems were outdated and deteriorating. Safety-related updates were necessary to comply with current building codes and adaptations were needed to provide full accessibility for people with disabilities.

“From afar, the Capitol looked as beautiful as always,” Urdahl said. “But, in truth, decades of quick fixes and short-term patches left the building deteriorating to the point experts said we had to act now or never catch up. This is the people’s house and it is one of the most important buildings in Minnesota. It is our duty to protect this Minnesota icon.”

The Capitol Restoration Committee was established through legislation Urdahl authored in 2011 as chairman of the House Legacy Committee, a position Urdahl holds today. Work on the Capitol is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Dean, an architect by trade, said it is important to honor the Capitol’s stylistic integrity while the building is restored.

“Cass Gilbert’s masterpiece stands as one of the finest capitols in the country and the finest public building in the state,” Dean said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to restore the building and preserve her for the next century.”

Rosenmeier executive director Steve Wenzel said the separate noontime and evening sessions were scheduled to provide both students and citizens with more flexibility in attending.

“We are most pleased to have a Rosenmeier Forum on the subject of the Restoration and Preservation of the Minnesota State Capitol,” Wenzel said. “Our beautiful State Capitol is the number one public building in Minnesota, and the fact that state taxpayers are investing $378 million in its restoration and preservation requires attention to the details of what the Restoration Commission is doing that will preserve our State Capitol building for another 100 or more years.”

Eric Klang, president of the Rosenmeier Board of Directors, added, “We are holding two forums on this most important topic so that both the students and the general public will be able to attend this forum, which we expect will be both informative and interesting.”


Contact Wenzel at swenzel@clcmn.edu or at 218-855-8073 for more information regarding the forums.




Speaker bios:

State Rep. Dean Urdahl

State Rep. Dean Urdahl is serving his seventh term in the House, representing an area west of the Twin Cities encompassing all of Meeker County and portions of Wright and McLeod.

A former history teacher and continuing writer of historical fiction, Rep. Urdahl has been a leading advocate for restoring the State Capitol. The Capitol Restoration Committee was established through legislation he authored in 2011-12 as chairman of the House Legacy Committee, a position Rep. Urdahl holds today. He also has served as Minnesota’s commissioner to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and was instrumental in forming the Minnesota Civil War Sesquicentennial Com­mission.

Rep. Urdahl taught American history and coached for 35 years at New London-Spicer schools and recently was named to the Minnesota Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame. He soon will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, St. Cloud State University.

Dean resides with his wife and editor, Karen, on a hobby farm near Litchfield, Minnesota. They have three grown sons and eight grandchildren.



State Rep. Matt Dean

State Rep. Matt Dean is serving his sixth term in office. He represents the city of White Bear Lake and surrounding communities in eastern Washington County. From 2011-13, Rep. Dean was the Majority Leader for the Republicans in the House. He currently is chairman of the Health & Human Services Finance Committee.

Rep. Dean also joined another group of bipartisan lawmakers to take up the effort of restoring the State Capitol. Time, technology and Minnesota’s sometimes vicious weather cycles have taken their toll on the 105-year-old building, causing water leaks and numerous structural deficiencies. Rep. Dean credited his previous career as an architect with sparking his interest in preserving the historic building.

Before his election to the Minnesota House, Rep. Dean founded and managed an architecture firm in 1995 focusing on educational and institutional clients. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota.

Matt lives with his wife, Laura, and their three children in Dellwood.

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