The rest of the dome will be entirely covered by January 2013. The entire project should take three years to complete. (Brandon Rittiman/9NEWS)
PHOTOS: INSIDE THE DOME
Scaffolding and plastic wrap can already be seen covering the base of the dome.
This summer, more scaffolding will be added and around January 2013, the very top of the iconic gold dome will be obscured by plastic.
9NEWS toured the project with State Architect Larry Friedberg.
The gold panels, which are actually copper covered in a thin layer of gold, are going to be replaced, but the most expensive part is the paint job.
The dome's structure is rusting because it's made of cast iron, which is painted grey to look like the granite building below.
Crews will have to sandblast every square inch of the dome structure.
"Removing a hundred years of paint and strip it down to the bare metal," Friedberg said.
Once that happens, workers have just eight hours to repair the metal and paint it with primer.
To pull it off, they have to seal the dome off air tight one small section at a time so the debris can be vacuumed into a truck below.
"It's one of the reasons why it's going to take so long," Friedberg said. "They'll do about 200 to 240 square feet a day."
To learn more about the project and the history of the Capitol building, watch the hour-long documentary "Centennial Statehouse." You can get a copy at www.haveypro.com.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)