Proposal To Fix State Capitol Calls For An Additional $122 Million

Monday, December 7th 2015, 7:11 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

It's going to take a lot more money to fix the state Capitol.

Contractors have spent 8,000 man hours scouring every part of the building inside and out to see how bad things really are. Now, they have presented proposals that say it will take an additional $122 million to fix everything that needs to be done.

There's enough money to fix the broken pipes and outdated wiring in the core area of the Capitol building. And the smelly basement that leaks when someone upstairs flushes a toilet would be gutted and replaced with a visitor's entrance.

Project manager Trait Thompson said under the proposal, new elevators would be added, public restrooms replaced and the exterior facade that's currently crumbling off the building would be repaired and cleaned. All with the $120 million dollars the Legislature already allocated for the project.

But the contractors say it will cost another $122 million to do something with the east tunnel that floods every time it rains, fix electrical and plumbing in the wings of the building, replace the copper on the roof, and a long list of other repairs.

“We always knew we didn’t have enough money,” Thompson said. “When you look at other state capitol restorations across the county restorations are running in the $250 mil to $300 mil dollar range.”  

A third tier of the proposal that adds a Capitol park and parking structure has made headlines and frustrated legislators.

“To beautify, to make reflection ponds, to make tributes, it’s insanity,” said Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang.

But Thompson said the third tier is part of a long range vision.

“Obviously we want to make sure the building is shored up first and that’s our biggest priority,” he said.

Thompson and his team will now go over and evaluate the contractor's proposals and start talking to the Legislature about getting that extra $122 million.