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Repairing Oklahoma Capitol should be priority, Fallin says

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says she would be open to a bond issue to pay for repairs to the nearly 100-year-old building.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: December 21, 2011

Repairs to the crumbling state Capitol should be a high priority, even if it means paying for them with a bond issue, Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday.

“I am certainly open to a bond issue with targeted needs,” Fallin said. “Certainly the state Capitol is one of those items that should be on a potential bond-issue list.”

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

The precautionary steps were taken after an engineering firm found damage to the building's exterior limestone panels on the southeast and southwest sides of the nearly 100-year-old Capitol building. It's expected that the damage exists throughout the building, Richard said.

Those and other repairs as well as suggested improvements to the building's electrical wiring and plumbing are estimated to cost $130 million.

Legislators have been reluctant to support bond issues the past couple of years. A Senate panel this year approved bond issues totaling more than $100 million for a building for the Veterans Affairs Department, a laboratory for the state medical examiner's office and to complete the unfinished American Indian Cultural Center in Oklahoma City. But none of those proposals were even considered in the House of Representatives.

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