Contractors: $122 million more needed to finish capitol renovation project

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OKLAHOMA CITY - While much-needed repairs are being completed at the Oklahoma State Capitol, it seems crews have hit a snag.

Last summer, Manhattan Construction started working on the capitol's interior, but they recently discovered a problem.

"This may just have to be a monument to some of the bad decisions that were made in the past," said Trait Thompson, capitol project manager.

The main issue right now is the marble inside the building.

When pulling up carpet and tile with asbestos in it, crews discovered a stain that runs throughout the hallways.

"The oil adhesive was what penetrated the stone and put these brown stains into the marble," said Kyle Nelson with Manhattan Construction.

The asbestos has been abated, but now it's up to Oklahoma Capitol Restoration to figure out how to fix the marble.

“That actually sinks down quite far down the marble, so it's really impossible to grind it down to that amount of depth,” Nelson said.

Even if they replace with new tile, it has to be custom-made due to the 45 degree angle of the original, making it an expensive venture.

“It is custom fit marble, so you can't just go out and buy tiles that are pre-manufactured, because they don't exist,” Thompson said.

Contractors estimate it will cost $122 million more to finish construction on the entire renovation project, and they anticipate even more headaches down the road.

Lawmakers will be asked for more repair money in the next legislative session.

For now, they're working with the budget on hand.

One bright spot is that contractors are ahead of schedule.

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