'Endangered' tag isn't likely to change a thing about best way to repair Oklahoma Capitol

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: April 15, 2013

The Oklahoman's Zeke Campfield wrote in depth recently about the ME's office, which lost its national accreditation four years ago because of staffing and facility concerns. For a brief time last year, corpses had to be placed in refrigeration trucks because a 40-year-old cooler broke.

Lawmakers increased the appropriation to the ME's office by $2.5 million last year, money that was used to hire additional doctors and upgrade equipment. But the building is a disaster.

“Space is so limited in the morgue at the Oklahoma City office that examiners have developed a special protocol just for moving around the autopsy tables,” Campfield wrote. “Ceiling panels have rotted out where the roof leaks water. The autopsy tables themselves — three, where (Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Eric) Pfeifer says there should be at least six — are so outdated their fumigation systems hardly work and the drains underneath spill over with fluids.”

A new building could be constructed for $42 million, but efforts to do so through a bond issue have failed. Objections to bond issues have nothing to do with the state's ability to pay off the notes — that wouldn't be a problem — but instead center on the argument that all debt is bad debt.

Instead the preferred approach is to pay as you go, which likely will take longer to complete any projects and could wind up costing the state more in the long run.

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