State Sen. Roger Thompson has been named to the panel responsible for preparing and approving the project programming plan for the repairs of the state Capitol building. The historic building is in the midst of repairs and restoration necessary to ensure its safety and functionality, but throughout the project, Thompson will help make sure the publics dollars are spent prudently.
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Capitol building, but years of neglect and improper maintenance had taken their toll, posing numerous safety issues for both those who work there and the thousands of visitors who come to see the historic building, said Thompson, R-Okemah. The building must be safe, adaptable to modern needs, yet remain true to the original architectural design. At the same time, we want to make sure we are closely reviewing all expenditures and making sure we are using Oklahomas resources wisely.
In 2014, the Legislature approved a $120 million bond package to begin work on the building, including an in-depth assessment of every part of the building, inside and out, to identify infrastructure concerns and determine the scope of the project. In 2015 work began on the preliminary phase of the project, including office spaces on the first and third floors. Hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead-based paint were removed, along with old, outdated electrical wiring. The work included safety modifications, including the installation of sprinkler systems and smoke detectors.
This session, another $125 million bond package was approved to extend that work to the rest of the building, as well as addressing infrastructure issues, including collapsed plumbing lines and the crumbling limestone exterior, Thompson said. Well be diligent in making sure the restoration project will meet the needs of our state for the next 100 years, while being good stewards of the public resources necessary to get the job done.