DENVER (AP/CBS4) – State officials will be holding a dedication ceremony Thursday to mark the reopening of the newly restored Colorado Capitol dome.

The $17 million project was necessary because Colorado’s intense freeze-thaw cycle caused the exterior metal surfaces to deteriorate during the past 100 years. Cast iron columns that support the dome began to rust, and when a 10-pound piece of iron fell in 2006, it prompted the closure of the dome’s observation deck to visitors.

The dome also was re-gilded with 65 ounces of gold.

The first public tour of the dome and observation deck will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday following the dedication ceremony.

Tours are 15 minutes long by reservation. There is high demand, but if space is available on Thursday people might get in. There are three to five public dome tours a day Monday through Friday — no weekends. There is no charge. The tour desk is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call for reservations: (303) 866-2604 or visit http://colorado.gov/capitoltour for updated tour information.

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