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Governor continues push to repair Oklahoma Capitol

Gov. Mary Fallin tells Oklahoma newspaper editors and publishers she is concerned about safety issues in the nearly 100-year-old state Capitol.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: February 8, 2013

“I want to get this $2 million in-depth prioritization study done so we know what we're dealing with, because we frankly don't know,” Fallin said Thursday.

“As I told the legislators, I've given you a start,” she said. “Whatever the legislators can get to my desk I'm happy to look at and consider. But I've asked them please do something this year. This is my third year in office, and they've yet to send me anything to address the Capitol's needs.”

Covered scaffolding has been in place since September on the southeast entrance of the Capitol to protect people from falling pieces of limestone. Those entering the building on the southeast side must use the handicapped entrance and walk under the 20-foot-long wood-covered scaffolding. Cautionary fencing also is in place along the south steps of the Capitol.

Fallin said she is open to all options, including a bond issue, but that she has heard the message from many legislators that they prefer using available cash to repair the building's crumbling facade. Fallin last year supported a bond issue. A $200 million bond issue to repair and renovate the Capitol and other buildings in the Capitol complex was crushed in the House.

Preliminary estimates show it would cost $160 million to repair and renovate the structure. Many lawmakers said they would like to see a plan developed that would outline specific problems, a timetable and how to make the repairs without disrupting the work of legislators and other elected officials as well as agencies that are housed there. Renovation and repairs are expected to take four years or more.