After the $300 million top-to-bottom restoration of the Minnesota State Capitol, we returned to check up on the accessibility of the campus. Our tour guide is Nikki Villavicencio, a disability activist who knows her way around politics. “I would help other people with disabilities learn how to ride the city bus, do different things, figure out what supports they need.”

Money remaining from the restoration is being reallocated to create new accessible sidewalks to better connect the Capitol Mall with the new Aurora Promenade at the base of the Capitol steps. “Basically what you’re going to have is a gradual walkway. The idea is that we’re trying to be respectful of the historic integrity of the Capitol, so the idea is to get it to blend in with the Capitol as much as possible,” explains Wayne Waslaski from the Department of Administration.

Next time, we’ll audit the inside of the State Capitol with Nikki in her wheelchair to see what is and isn’t working so far.


Step inside the multi-year, $300 million dollar Minnesota State Capitol renovation in the documentary Restoring the People’s House, which strings together Mary Lahammer’s extensive coverage of the capitol’s transformation.

Who designed Minnesota’s previous state capitol building? Good question. Get up-to-speed in this episode of 30-Second Minnesota. While you’re at it, explore other bite-sized local history stories. 

Stay tuned to Almanac for the next installment of Mary Lahammer’s exploration of efforts to improve accessibility at the capitol. TPT’s long-running public affairs show airs on TPT2 on Fridays at 7 pm and on Sundays at 9:30 am.