The North and South Hearing Rooms are located on the second floor of the Senate Building. These rooms originally were designed as hearing rooms for the Ohio Supreme Court. The Supreme Court moved out of the building in 1974. Due to neglect of the building, both rooms were badly damaged. The Senate currently holds a majority of their committee hearings in the North and South Hearing Rooms.
North Hearing Room
The North Hearing Room suffered aesthetically as did so many other areas of Capitol Square. This room's original bench, which was used by the Supreme Court, had been cut into pieces and stored in the attic. The bench has been restored and is used by the Senate for committees. During the restoration process in the 1990s, the bench also was lengthened slightly to accommodate ten people, the typical number of Senators on a committee.
The South Hearing Room
This room was in considerably worse shape. The ornate detailing found in the ceiling was covered by a dropped ceiling. This area also had been subdivided into tiny cubicles. The bench is a reproduction of the original, which currently is housed at Case Western Reserve Law School. Many of the furniture items in both rooms, including the chairs and tables, are original to the building. The carpet has been replaced, based on historical photographs, and reproduced with today's materials. The carpet has been designed to withstand significant foot traffic.
The "marble" pilasters along the walls of the North Hearing Room are examples of an interesting architectural technique called scagliola. The pilasters are actually a mixture of marble dust, dyed plasters, paint and glue that is made to resemble marble. In the South Hearing Room, prior to the 1990s restoration, the scagliola had been destroyed beyond repair. In this room, a faux marble finish using sponges was employed to create a similar effect.
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, Ohio 43215