Unfortunately the Virginia State Capitol building was closed when we got there on our first day in Richmond in October, 2004. There was a fence erected around the Capitol on Capitol Square and the buiding was partly covered by scaffolding.
But the closing at that time had nothing to do with the renovations. Beginning in March 2005, the Capitol interior will close to the general public for restoration work. That day, we lingered a lot at the Museum of the Confederacy and arrived just after the last tour of the day (4.00 pm) began. On my return, I found the following info on the official page of the Virginia General Assembly: "free guided tours of the interior of the Capitol will continue to be offered through the end of February 2005. Access to the building will be available from the West side entrance".
Unique Suggestions: Well, there are many other exciting places to visit in Richmond. Let me share info put on the official page of Virginia General Assembly: "Selected sculpture and artwork from the Capitol will be on free exhibit from 18 April 2005 through 1 April 2006 at The Library of Virginia, located at 9th and Broad streets (one block Northwest of the Capitol)."
Fun Alternatives: There are capitol buildings open for the public in neighbouring and close states including the most famous Capitol in Washington D.C. and North Carolina State Capital in Raleigh I was lucky to visit. Unfortunatelly I skipped the South Carolina State Capitol in Columbia. Do not follow me, I was told that it looks great!