The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council on Wednesday approved a grant to cover an estimated $518,125 for maintenance costs and the installation of a concealed weapon detection system at Arkansas’ Governor’s Mansion.
In a voice vote without audible dissent, the panel authorized the award along with a series of other grants to state agencies and universities totaling more than $47 million. Grants provided by the council are funded through the state’s real estate transfer tax.
The grant for the Governor's Mansion will fund the fourth phase in a preservation project that began during former Gov. Asa Hutchinson's administration.
Part of the award will cover upgrades to the mansion's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The replacement of five aging water source heat pumps will cost an estimated $150,000. Design professional engineer fees associated with the upgrades are expected to cost $13,125, according to a grant application filed by the state Division of Building Authority.
The grant also will help fund efforts to repair leaks in three exterior balconies, which state officials anticipate will cost $150,000.
Installing a screening device “that can detect a wide range of concealed weapons” at the west entrance to the Grand Hall also will be covered by the award. The Motorola Avigilon Concealed Weapons Detection System is estimated to cost $205,000, officials said in the grant application.
A separate $592,000 renovation at the Governor’s Mansion is nearing completion. The project, which was privately funded by the Governor’s Mansion Association, includes safety improvements for Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ three children and renovations to the upstairs living space and bedrooms.
Sanders and her family intend to move into the mansion once the project, which began at the end of February, wraps up, according to an emailed statement from Alexa Henning, a spokesperson for Sanders.