New plan emerging to fix crumbling Oklahoma Capitol

Movement is seen in efforts to fund repairs of Oklahoma’s nearly century-old state Capitol.
by Rick Green Modified: May 14, 2014 at 8:52 pm •  Published: May 15, 2014
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photo - Most of the limestone facade at the State Capitol building in Oklahoma City, OK, is cracking and water-stained and is needing repair, Thursday, April 24, 2014,  Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman
Most of the limestone facade at the State Capitol building in Oklahoma City, OK, is cracking and water-stained and is needing repair, Thursday, April 24, 2014, Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman

Plans to fix the crumbling state Capitol appear to be advancing in the Legislature.

The House previously rejected a Senate bill for a $160 million bond measure to fix plumbing, electrical systems and parts of the building’s facade, but House leaders are now discussing a similar but somewhat less expensive proposal.

A new plan being discussed by House leaders envisions a $120 million bond measure. The bonds would be retired in 10 years to save on interest. A repair and refurbishment project of this size would be one of the largest, if not the largest project, for the Capitol, which was opened in 1917.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman says the Capitol is in “dire need” of repair, and the new plan would be less costly than previous ones.

“House Republicans have been discussing a $120 million bond issue to make the needed repairs with terms that would have a significant savings on interest compared to previous proposals,” he said. “The plan would also require legislative oversight to ensure the Capitol renovation is done in a fiscally prudent manner.”

The deteriorating condition of the Capitol has been front and center this legislative session and was highlighted this week when a four-pound chunk of concrete fell from the ceiling and nearly hit a desk in the basement. The person who worked in the office found a mess of rock and pieces of ceiling tile when he came to work Monday.

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by Rick Green
Capitol Bureau Chief
Rick Green is the Capitol Bureau Chief of The Oklahoman. A graduate of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., he worked as news editor for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City before joining The Oklahoman.
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