OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Frank Simpson was one of six senators recently appointed to the newly created Capitol Construction Oversight Committee. Legislation (Senate Bill 2044) authorizing a $160 million bond issue for the much-needed repairs to the state building was approved by the Senate last Thursday and will now be considered by the House.
“This beautiful building is nearly 100 years old and, unfortunately, has been terribly neglected. The building is in such bad shape now that it poses both a safety and health risk to the hundreds of employees who work there as well as the thousands of visitors who tour it each year,” said Simpson, R-Ardmore. “I’m looking forward to getting to work and helping ensure that the people’s building is restored in an timely and cost effective manner.”
Once SB 2044 has been signed into law by the Governor, the committee will oversee estimates and expenditures as renovations at the state Capitol get underway.
“The list of necessary repairs is lengthy but there are a few issues that must be addressed immediately. There is limestone falling off the exterior of the building. Most of the electrical wires are original making them a fire hazard and they also no longer meet the needs of the 21st century business world with all of its technology. Many of the water and sewer pipes are also original to the building and they’re corroded and leaking so we have water and raw sewage seeping out under floors and behind walls,” said Simpson. “This simply isn’t acceptable. We have one of the most beautiful Capitols in the country and we need to make sure that we do all we can to preserve the structural integrity, safety and beauty of our state house.”
The committee will work with any engineers, architects or construction managers as the project progresses to analyze costs and determine the true amount needed for the project.
In 2009, a study was conducted by professional architects, engineers and a construction company specializing in preconstruction assistance and the group estimated the project to cost around $105 million. The increased amount of $160 million takes into account inflation on materials and any unexpected costs that may arise like, among others, moving phone and internet lines and relocating state employees during the renovations so that they can continue to work.