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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy of the state of Indiana The governor's residence is undergoing renovations in preparation for Gov. Eric Holcomb and his family to move in this month.

  • Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette Workers at the Indiana Governor’s Residence replace windows as part of a renovation for the first family. 

Monday, June 19, 2017 1:00 am

Governor's home getting spruced up

State spending $185,000 on repairs

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The governor's residence has been getting a bit of a facelift in preparation for its new occupants.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, first lady Janet Holcomb and schnauzer Henry hope to be in the historic 1928 Eng­lish Tudor by the end of the month. The state is spending about $185,000 on repairs and renovations.

The Governor's Residence Commission is also considering some redecorating and cosmetic updates, which would be paid with private funds.

“The governor's residence is truly a special place – full of so much history,” Janet Holcomb said. “Eric and I feel honored to be a part of it.”

The biggest part of the recent expense was putting in a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The last time there was major work on the residence – 2006 – the system was repaired and some wiring was brought up to code, but not all of it.

A new HVAC system meant reconfiguring the attic space to fit the equipment and ductwork, said Marianne Molony, chief of staff for Janet Holcomb.

The HVAC system alone was $87,000. Other updates included electrical work, buffing worn out hardwoods, fixing thresholds between rooms, painting and some new windows.

Jessica Robertson, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Administration, said that from a landlord perspective, it was great to have a gap from when former governor Mike Pence and his family left in January to when the Holcombs move in.

“We don't want to disrupt the first family, and this allowed us to make sure everything was functioning well,” she said.

The Holcombs have their own home in Marion County but are choosing to stay in the residence, partly to reduce security costs for the state.

The main floor of the residence has been largely left untouched. It has a formal dining room with an elaborate wall mural, a foyer, kitchen, butler's pantry, formal living room, library, patio, catering kitchen, event space and offices for the first lady and staff.

The second floor is the private quarters for the family, consisting of several bedrooms, a private kitchen, living room, office and bathrooms.

In all, the residence has more than 10,000 square feet, 23 rooms, 11 bathrooms and a carriage house for guests.

The Pence family had put some furniture in storage to use their own. Now the appointed commission is re­assessing what needs to come back out and what small items might need to be purchased to fill in gaps.

Molony said some smaller-scale projects are being considered. One is adding a mud room near the family entrance – there's not a single coat closet in the entire residence. Another is cosmetic lighting and window treatment adjustments to the make the second-floor living space more inviting.

And the staff is also preparing to add a basketball court that Gov. Holcomb has requested.

All of these touches would be paid for with private dollars. Similarly, in 2006, then-first lady Cheri Daniels spearheaded a $1.2 million renovation and redecoration of the residence that focused on plumbing, roofing and general aesthetics.

Before that there was a 2003 million-dollar expansion project that focused on making the house accessible for people with disabilities.

Other, more recent, projects included adding 6-foot-tall, 24-foot-wide wrought iron gates in 2014. Also, an independent security building was erected and additional security cameras were installed.

nkelly@jg.net