Personalized Bricks at Root of Virginia State Capitol Project

All that stands between the average Virginian and a spot in history is $250.

The Virginia Capitol Foundation — a private foundation raising money to help repair the Thomas Jefferson-designed State Capitol — is selling inscribed bricks.

Organizers hope to raise $800,000 through sales of the bricks, set to be installed starting in late March.

About 4,000 are available.

Alice Lynch, foundation executive director, called the bricks a highly visible way to raise private money for a public monument.

The bricks won't be in the actual Capitol building. Rather, they'll be in the Bank Street sidewalk between the Washington Building, at the southeastern corner of Capitol Square, and the columned entry plaza that has been built near the T-junction of Ninth and Bank streets.

Placement will be on a first come, first served basis.

Each of the 4-inch-by-8-inch bricks can accommodate three lines of type and up to 14 characters per line — capital letters highlighted with a black epoxy.

Organizers say they have a fail-safe for any jokesters: Proposed inscriptions will be vetted for taste, accuracy and punctuation by the Capitol Square Preservation Council, the state agency that oversees the statehouse complex.

The idea is to keep things tasteful, Lynch said.

"We didn't want this to become commercial," she said. "We've been respectful of the historic nature of the square and want to maintain the dignity that the Capitol deserves."

The General Assembly, the Capitol's primary occupant, returns to the 216-year-old building in April, after two sessions in the Patrick Henry Building while the capitol building underwent an $83 million restoration.

Inscribed bricks have been a popular fundraising tool in Virginia, turning up at Maymont, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond.

The University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary and Virginia Military Institute also have sold them.