Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: February 27, 2009
Sen. Harry Coates
Senate Approves Capitol Centennial Commemoration and Preservation
The State Senate approved legislation Thursday to
help prepare the state Capitol for its second century. The building
will celebrate the centennial of its official opening in 2017,
but Sen. Harry
Coates is concerned that years of poor maintenance could keep
the structure from being habitable in its second century.
“Millions have been raised in public and private funds to
help beautify the interior of the Capitol and I applaud those
who helped in that process. Our Capitol has been nationally-recognized
for excellence in public building design and construction and
some believe it to be one of the more beautiful capitols in the
country,” said Coates, R-Seminole. “The problem, though,
is that so much focus has been put on making the inside look nice
that the outside as well as things on the inside that the public
can’t see like the electrical and plumbing have been totally
Senate Bill 482, by Sen. Harry Coates, would create the Oklahoma
State Capitol Centennial Commemoration and Preservation Act. The
bill would create a commission to prepare and implement a master
plan to make capital improvements to the state Capitol building
and grounds. It would also authorize the creation of a not-for-profit
corporation to raise funds and to assist in the implementation
of the master plan.
“If we don’t take immediate action and raise some
money to address the many problems affecting this historic building,
it’s not going to matter how much we spend on the interior
it’ll all be for not because we haven’t protected
the outside properly,” said Coates, who has worked in the
construction industry for 40 years. “In the long run, if
we follow through and get this commission created, we’re
going to have a building that we can really be proud of and that
will last because it is adequately protected from the elements.”
Fellow legislator Debbe Leftwich stood in support of Coates’
bill reminding her fellow legislators of the problems that face
workers at the Capitol every day including malfunctioning elevators
and inefficient plumbing. Leftwich also pointed out the “sad
shape” of the east tunnel where guests enter the building,
which has severe water damage from the excessive leaking that
occurs every time it rains.
“I think it’s a really good idea to have a specific
group dedicated to looking at not just the preservation but the
maintenance of this beautiful building. I’ve often said
that state government is really good about building things and
really lousy at maintaining them; and to have this special fund
and this special emphasis on the Capitol building itself is a
great thing for the state,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City.
Coates explained that the only cost associated with his bill would
be $150,000 to get the commission and nonprofit up and running.
The necessary maintenance and repair costs to the building would
be raised publicly and privately by the nonprofit.
SB 482 now goes to the House for further consideration.
For more information contact:
Sen. Coates' Office: 405-521-5547