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Oklahoma's state Capitol joins list of most endangered historic places

Preservation Oklahoma Inc., placed Oklahoma's crumbling state Capitol on its 2013 list of most endangered historical sites. The Capitol is in need of serious repairs, the group said, with pieces of limestone having fallen from the exterior and raw sewage leaking in the basement.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: April 11, 2013

/articleid/3781885/1/pictures/2008113">Photo - Preservation Oklahoma Inc.. said the Oklahoma state Capitol is in danger of deteriorating.  Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Preservation Oklahoma Inc.. said the Oklahoma state Capitol is in danger of deteriorating. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

“I'd like to get going immediately, at least on the outside,” she said. “I think there's general agreement here at the Capitol that the Legislature will take action to give some funding … because the longer we go the more it's going to cost the state of Oklahoma.”

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, believes the deterioration of the Capitol is a serious problem worthy of action without delay, his spokesman, Nathan Atkins, said later. He suggested at the end of last year's session an emergency appropriation to “finance initial repairs deemed to be those most critical and time sensitive.”

Bingman agrees with the governor to provide supplemental funds that can be used immediately to repair the Capitol's facade “so we can ensure visitors to our seat of government don't have to worry about getting hit with a piece of falling limestone,” Atkins said. “It's a public safety issue, and frankly, it's embarrassing.”

Bingman also supports using supplemental funds to develop a detailed engineering study of necessary repairs and line-item costs before starting other repairs, Atkins said.

Fallin said she is open to all options to repair the Capitol, but many legislators have expressed reluctance to seek a bond issue. Fallin last year supported a $200 million bond issue to repair and renovate the Capitol and other buildings in the Capitol complex; it was soundly defeated in the House of Representatives.

Sites on the list

This is the 20th year Preservation Oklahoma has put together a list of the state's most endangered historical places.

David Pettyjohn, executive director of the group, said Preservation Oklahoma's list is intended to make people aware of the deteriorating conditions of key historical sites across the state.

Other sites making the list are the Broadway Tower in Enid; the Edwards Store in Latimer County; Mummers Theater, or the Stage Center, in Oklahoma City; the Pocasset gymnasium; the Union Community Center of Stella in Newalla; the Tulsa Club; Route 66 bridges across the state; midcentury neighborhoods across the state; the Quanah Parker Star House in Cache; Citizens State Bank, or the Gold Dome, in Oklahoma City; and archeological sites across the state.

The Villa Teresa campus in Oklahoma City was placed on the group's watch list.


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