UPDATE: Most of mansion renovation funds to be raised - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

UPDATE: Most of mansion renovation funds to be raised by First Lady

MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker's office released a statement Saturday saying a majority of the funds for the proposed kitchen renovation projects at the executive residence will be raised by First Lady Tonette Walker through private donations to the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation(WERF).

The Department of Administration(DOA) this week sent a request to the Building Commission for a renovation project to update the building's industrial kitchen and its residential kitchenette.

According to the statement released Saturday, the project proposal before the Building Commission asks for approval for the full project cost of approximately $478,000, which will allow DOA to move forward with the project.

"The Executive Residence is truly the People's House and, each year, thousands of people go there for events, meals, or tours," Governor Walker was quoted as saying in the statement. "Tonette is committed to working with the foundation to raise the majority of the funds for this renovation project, which will make sure the People's House is in good repair and can serve all who visit throughout the year."

The governor's office says the industrial kitchen is often used to provide food service for special events at the residence.

The statement also points out the kitchens have not been updated since 1986 and the 1960s, respectively.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Administration is asking the State Building Commission to approve $478,700 in general fund supported borrowing for kitchen renovations at the Governor's mansion.

The request for the revamp of both the first floor kitchen and the second floor private quarters kitchenette originally came from First Lady Tonette Walker.

The First Lady and members of WERF, the non-profit Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation, first pitched the idea of kitchen renovations to the State Capital and Executive Residence Board in September of 2011.

Minutes from that meeting show that WERF was going to request in-kind donations to replace the kitchen without any structural/permanent changes.

But in the DOA's request to the State Building Commission, the project description includes several changes to the kitchen with the installation of new equipment, such as commercial grade storage cabinets, shelving, disposal, dishwasher, oven, stove, refrigerators and freezers.

It also calls for the installation of new cabinetry and updates to existing ceiling and lighting features.

The DOA request states that WERF is currently fundraising to contribute toward the cost of the project, but does not provide any dollar estimate for that contribution.

DOA states that the improvements are needed, because the main floor kitchen has not been renovated since 1986 and that it is used to prepare food for over 15,000 visitors annually who attend receptions, dinners, meetings and public tours.

27 News has asked DOA for details on how much of the $478,700 would come from general fund borrowing and how much would come from contributions to WERF.

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