RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A crowd of people gathered in downtown Richmond today to take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Virginia General Assembly Building’s public opening.

The celebratory events included a plaque unveiling and public tours of the first purpose-built office building, known as the GAB, for America’s first and oldest legislative body that’s been serving the people of Virginia since 1619.

The 414,000-square-foot Modern Classical building was constructed on the same footprint as the old building with the same name. Made up of 14 stories above ground and one below, the GAB contains spaces designed to make it easier for the public to visit and participate in the legislative process; featuring large meeting rooms, modern technology, food services and other amenities.

“There are larger meetings spacious, spacious hallways spaces, spacious hallways, faster elevators and stunning views,” said Speaker of the House of Delegates Todd Gilbert. “And it’s a win because its form is not only a beautiful new addition to our square and the capital skyline but its function is focused and user-friendly.”

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 12, the GAB will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on the weekends when the General Assembly is in session.

The building is connected via tunnels to a newly built seven-level parking deck at the corner of Broad and 9th Streets, and the Capitol’s underground Visitor’s Center.