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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

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For Immediate Release: February 18, 2009

Sen. Harry Coates
Senator Harry Coates

Capitol Centennial Commemoration and Preservation Act Headed to Full Senate

The Oklahoma State Capitol is quickly approaching the centennial of its official opening in 1917. To help commemorate the centennial and ensure the building is ready for its next century, State Sen. Harry Coates has authored Senate Bill 482. Rep. Liebmann will co-author the legislation which would create the Oklahoma State Capitol Centennial Commemoration and Preservation Act.

"Our Capitol has tremendous significance in the history of our great state, and it's our job to preserve the integrity and architectural beauty of the building but at the same time do what we can to turn it into a 21st century capable structure," said Coates. "We have to remember that while this is a historic building and the people's building, it's also the home of the executive and legislative branches of our state government."

Coates, who has 40 years of experience in the construction industry, pointed out that many of the buildings main components such as the wiring and piping are original from 1917. There are also problems with some of the buildings newer additions including malfunctioning elevators and an inefficient heating and air system among others.

"The truth of the matter is that the Capitol has fallen into a state of disrepair - from the electrical to the plumbing to the exterior masonry - from a lack of funding for the upkeep and maintenance. We have all kinds of construction issues with the Capitol building,” said Coates. “If we don’t take steps in the very near future, in the next year or two, to make the repairs to the outside, especially to the weatherproofing envelope of the building including the masonry, it doesn’t matter what kind of money we spend on the interior it will all be for not because we didn’t adequately protect the building from the elements.”

A commission will be created to prepare and implement a master plan to make capital improvements to the State Capitol and grounds. The master plan will include a timetable and budget for completion of all parts of the plan. The master plan may include among other projects and activities:
• interior and exterior renovations to the Capitol and grounds
• publications, films, and other educational materials
• bibliographical and documentary projects
• conferences, lectures, seminars, and other programs
• exhibits, including but not limited to, a centennial commemorative painting and mobile exhibits
• ceremonies and commemorations

An initial draft of the plan must be submitted to the Governor, Pro Tem and Speaker by January 1, 2010 and the finalized plan by January 1, 2011.

"We as citizens must remember that this is the people's house and, therefore, the responsibility of maintaining and protecting this building falls to every Oklahoman." said Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City. "Our Capitol has been nationally-recognized for excellence in public building design and construction so it's important that we do all we can to protect this beautiful piece of our history as well as get it ready for its next century."

Membership of the commission will include the Governor and all living former governors, along with the Lt. Governor, Pro Tem of the Senate, Speaker of the House and numerous others. They will also be responsible for planning the festivities for the State Capitol's centennial celebration.

The bill also authorizes the creation of a not-for-profit corporation to raise funds and to assist in the implementation of the master plan in relation to the centennial commemoration of the State Capitol in 2017.

SB 482 will next be heard by the full Senate.

For more information contact:
Sen. Coates' Office: 405-521-5547

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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