President Pro Tempore
Senator Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa
State Capitol Room 422
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: February 20, 2014
Senate passes legislation authorizing bond
to fix state Capitol; Creates Capitol Construction Oversight Committee
The Senate approved legislation Thursday that would
authorize the issuance of a bond to repair Oklahoma’s state
Capitol, which has long been plagued with structural problems.
Additionally, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian
Bingman announced the formation of a Senate Capitol Construction
Oversight Select Committee to monitor estimates and expenditures
as they arise to ensure the funds are spent prudently.
The legislation, Senate Bill 2044, would authorize the issuance
of up to $160 million in bonds to renovate the state Capitol. Completed
in 1917, the historic building has had numerous problems in recent
years, including various safety hazards, falling pieces of façade
that have required yellow barricades to be up for years to prevent
injuries and even raw sewage leaking in the basement.
“As a state, we have an obligation to take care of our assets,
especially the seat of our government, our state Capitol,”
said Bingman, R-Sapulpa, who is author of the bill. “This
is a massive project that has been on our radar for years. Now is
the time to stop talking and get to work before the price tag increases
even more and the building further deteriorates.”
The oversight committee, which will be chaired by Sen. Greg Treat,
R-Oklahoma City, 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.
“This legislation authorizes up to $160 million for Capitol
repairs because we are being told by the experts they anticipate
that will be the cost. But, this select committee will be there
every step of the way to make sure we are making the fixes needed
for government to function while being good stewards of the taxpayer
dollar,” said Treat, who carried the bill on the floor.
Senators who will serve on the committee include:
Sen. Greg Treat, chairman
Sen. Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak
Sen. A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie
Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater
Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa
Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer
Exact cost estimates on the project are difficult because of the
historic nature of the structure and the uncertainty of problems
that could be hidden behind walls once the project is begun. However,
a study conducted in 2009 with professional architects, engineers
and a construction company specializing in preconstruction assistance
showed the project costs roughly around $105 million. The $160 million
figure factors in inflationary costs on materials and the soft costs
associated with such a complicated renovation project like moving
phones, internet, office space, temporary locations for employees
during the project, etc.
“This is a prudent expenditure that will help us pay for
this project, get started now and still maintain a low debt level
in our state,” said Bingman.
Last year, the Legislature passed and the governor signed into
law a bill that requires Oklahoma’s debt to be capped at no
more than five percent of average general revenue collections. Even
with the issuance of this bond, Oklahoma will still remain well
below that limit. Additionally, 41.5 percent of the state’s
outstanding, tax-backed bonds will be paid back by the end of calendar
The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 36-11 and now moves to
the House for further consideration.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Bingman: (405) 521-5605