The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 15, 2014

It’s time for repairs

NORMAN — We’re not sure what it’s going to take to get the legislature to commit the needed investment in the Capitol building. There are many proposals to repair the crumbling gem of a building, but none is getting the traction or priority we think it deserves.

A four-pound chunk of concrete crashed through an employee’s office in the basement of the nearly 100-year-old building. Fortunately, the incident occurred over the weekend and no one was injured.

Steel rebar holding some of the concrete in place is likely a century old and needs some preservation work, as does much of the basement area. A sewer pipe earlier this session backed up in some carpeted areas.

The Capitol’s front steps have been closed for some time as falling limestone was a potential hazard for visitors. Now, visitors must enter through side doors and stay off the stairs.

It’s something of an embarrassment for tourists to see yellow tape — the kind usually reserved for crime scenes — wrapped around the state’s seat of government.

House members, last month, turned down a bond issue to repair the Capitol. Some lawmakers don’t want to put the state into long-term debt and would prefer to fund the repairs from general operating funds, reserves or the unclaimed property fund.

One plan proposed by a Moore lawmaker is to commit $10 million per year. That’s a good start, but it reminds us of fixing a 100-mile highway one mile at a time. It’s time for lawmakers to bite the bullet and find a way to restore and preserve the people’s house.

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