Oklahoma Senate gives final legislative approval to $120 million plan to fix Capitol

The nearly century-old Oklahoma Capitol is to get major work in a bill approved by the Legislature and sent to Gov. Mary Fallin.
by Rick Green Modified: May 23, 2014 at 7:44 pm •  Published: May 23, 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

A plan to fix longstanding plumbing, exterior and electrical problems at the state Capitol won final legislative approval Friday and was sent to Gov. Mary Fallin for her signature.

Fallin has placed a priority on repairing and refurbishing the nearly 100-year-old building.

The bill authorizes $120 million in bonds to pay for the project. The Senate approved the bill Friday after it won House approval Thursday evening.

The project will include securing the limestone exterior of the building and repairing leaky pipes inside. Pieces of limestone have fallen from the building, and plumbing problems have resulted in the stench of sewage in the Capitol. Also, old cloth-wrapped electrical wires will be replaced with modern electrical components deemed safer.

The Senate earlier supported a $160 million bond proposal, which was pared down in the House proposal. The final plan, which passed the Senate, 34-8, also calls for the bonds to be retired in 10 years, saving on interest compared to the costs of a longer duration bond plan.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, praised the action.

“The state Capitol is the people’s house and they deserve a top-notch building that easily allows them to see their government in action,” he said. “This is an important state asset that must be maintained and improved to ensure it continues to serve as the seat of our state government for decades to come. In recent years, the exterior and interior alike have been in need of serious repair. This legislation will allow for that restoration while taking advantage of historically low interest rates and maintaining Oklahoma’s status as a low-debt state.”

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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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