OKLAHOMA CITY – Cracked, corroded and literally crumbling.
It’s not the beacon of pride lawmakers want you to see.
The Capitol’s architect Duane Mass said, “There have been issues with parts of the building literally falling off, pieces of the building falling in on people’s desks.”
The 450,000 square foot building will go through a series of renovations paid for with a 120 million dollar bond issue.
Officials say the project will take four to five years to complete starting this year. The first order of business is the exterior.
“Our first task is repair and restoration,” said Mass. “All of the damage that’s coming is the outside. The joints that bind the block together. The mortar joints are failed or are failing.”
Everyone wants to save money, but other states that have been down this road are providing a reality.
“All of them started out with a dollar and a supposed scope of work,” said Mass. “Many times when they’ve begun to open things up, they went ‘oh my goodness,’ and in each one they found so much more than what they originally anticipated.”
Mass said water is the biggest culprit for the poor condition of the state’s Capitol.
“There are many areas specifically up high that are completely gone and water is coming into and is causing a lot of the erosion of the stone and the erosion of the back up structure,” Mass said.
Preservationists with the historical society will provide guidance to ensure the building will be restored to its 100 year existence.
“Not everything can been taken back to the way it would have looked back in 1917. We understand,” Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society said. “We have to use adaptive re-use to the best of our ability, save as much of the historical integrity as we can and make sure this is a symbol of our unity forever.”
Plans for the interior of the State Capitol building are expected to begin at the end of 2015.
Click here for more information on the plans.