Officials remind about Capitol occupancy limitations as striking employees arrive


    West Virginia school employees flock to the state Capitol on the first day of the statewide strike. State officials sent out a reminder about crowd occupancy limitations at the Capitol due to construction. (WCHS/WVAH)

    As West Virginia school employees flocked to the Capitol Tuesday on the first day of a strike, state officials sent out a reminder of the limitations on crowd size in the building due to ongoing construction.

    The West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety sent out a tweet reminding that construction had reduced Capitol occupancy to 602 outside of the West Virginia House of Delegates and Senate chambers and 1,062 around the lower Rotunda ground floor.

    As of 9:30 a.m., about 1,000 had entered the Capitol, state officials said.

    Last year, packing the Capitol with protesters was a major part of the strategy when school employees conducted a nine-day strike.

    After the Capitol repair project began, Capitol Police requested an updated safety survey from the state's General Services Division, due to the massive amount of people who visited the Capitol during the 2018 session.

    The total capacity for both the upper and lower Rotunda area was about 3,500. With the Rotunda space blocked off for construction, the capacity is much smaller.

    Capitol Police use the public entry points to keep track of the number of people coming into the building.

    The Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety said there is an updated evacuation plan for the hundreds of people who work in this building and visit it daily. In an emergency, the floor captains would lead everyone through an evacuation.

    The repairs are expected to continue until the fall of 2020.


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