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DENVER — The heart of downtown Denver is getting a much-needed face-lift. Civic Center Station is an integral part of downtown’s transportation system and renovation of the 30-year-old facility began Sunday.

“It’s going to be a gorgeous station and we’re really excited about that,” RTD spokesman Nate Currey said.

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Civic Center Station is one of RTD’s busiest stations with 15,000 passengers a day.

The $26 million renovation is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete. RTD, federal and state funds through grants will finance the renovation.

RTD said the finished product will be a state-of-the-art transportation hub and also help improve safety in the area.

“The way it was designed created some dark places and this new design eliminates all of that,” Currey said.

RTD said it worked with law enforcement on the architecture of the new facility.

“This new station is going to have glass all the way through to see the Capitol from the 16th Street Mall,” Currey said.

The recent remodel of Union Station has been a huge reward, so RTD is using the same visual concept at Denver International Airport and Union Station with the big white tarps.

“There’s currently a mismatch between the beauty of Union Station and the buzz down there and Civic Center Station,” Currey said.

Bus service at Civic Center Station will be shifted about a block away to the intersection at Broadway and Lincoln Street. The sales outlet located at the facility will also be temporarily relocated.