developing: Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Joe Exotic not exposed to any known COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma jail, officials saydeveloping: Stitt urges more Oklahomans to get tested as more mobile sites spring upLive updates: Oklahoma coronavirus cases now 879; 34 dead

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Capitol restoration: What to know before visiting Oklahoma's state Capitol

When Oklahoma’s legislative session kicks off Monday, the normal sounds of the state Capitol, the dull roar of political banter and high heels on marble flooring, will be mixed with the whir of power tools and hammering.

The Capitol restoration project, which started in 2015, will be ongoing as lawmakers, lobbyists and Oklahoma citizens flood the iconic building for the 2020 legislative session.

State representatives, who were kicked out of their offices at the end of the 2019 legislative session, recently moved back into the building.

“This is a major, major ordeal, being able to refurbish and restore the Capitol,” said Rep. Todd Russ. “It’s never completely been restored in over 100 years of history, so it’s a big lift.”

Over the past decade, Russ, R-Cordell, had seen it all — stained carpet, leaky roofs, heating and cooling failures and Oklahoma’s signature wind whistling through office windows. It’s nice to come back to new fixtures and a fresh coat of paint on the walls, he said.

With the construction ongoing during the legislative session, some people might be hesitant about visiting the Capitol to talk to their legislators, he said.

“If I was thinking about coming to the Capitol, I’d probably think twice because it’s a little bit problematic getting in and out of the building,” he said. “It’s pretty torn up. It’s going to be fairly limited, but we’ll be able to carry on the peoples’ business.”

But Trait Thompson, Capitol restoration project manager, said his team is working hard to make accessible as much of the building as possible during construction.

"Be patient and understanding when you’re coming up here because the building is still under construction, and while we’ve tried to make it as accessible as possible, we’re still in the process of restoring the peoples’ house," he said.

Here’s what you should know before visiting 2300 N Lincoln while the Legislature is in session.

Getting inside the Capitol

Sometimes just getting in the Capitol during the legislative session can be the hardest part.

The restoration project should not interfere with any of the parking lots except that the construction workers in the building are taking up some spots in the south and east parking lots, Thompson said.

“Parking is always going to be an issue here, especially during the very busy days of session,” he said.

The new Capitol visitor entrance and the tunnel under North Lincoln Boulevard won’t be open until June. Until then, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation set up a temporary crosswalk to make it safer for pedestrians to cross from the east parking lot to Capitol grounds.

What is off-limits?

The first and fourth-floor rotundas will be closed during the legislative session, but the House and Senate chambers and legislators’ offices will not be obstructed.

The second-floor rotunda, where many groups hold rallies, lunches and meet-and-greets with legislators will remain open. The area will be available for booking starting next week, but Thompson said he expects it will book up quickly.

“We’ve encouraged people to look at meeting space that’s sort of around and in the vicinity of the Capitol if they’re not able to get booked into the second floor,” he said.

A floor-by-floor map that shows what areas are off limits can be found at the Capitol Restore website.

Where can I find the governor and other statewide elected officials?

Gov. Kevin Stitt moved into his permanent office on the second floor of the Capitol in the fall, but some of Oklahoma’s other top elected officials have moved due to the construction.

Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell is temporarily working out of the second floor of the Capitol. In mid-March, he will move into his permanent office in the south wing on the first floor of the building.

State Treasurer Randy McDaniel and his staff have temporarily moved off-site to 9520 N May Ave. in Oklahoma City. Work is expected to be complete on the second-floor treasurer’s office in the Capitol in mid-May.

Miscellaneous

Work is complete on most of the building’s restrooms, but the first and third-floor restrooms will be closed during parts of the legislative session.

The third-floor restrooms will be closed until the end of February. At that time, restrooms on the first floor will close until early May. The northeast stairwell also will be closed during the session as workers restore the marble floors.

The Capitol restoration project is set to be complete in 2022.

Related Photos
<strong>Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.   [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-461d82d90dd5254eba769cc8eee03aed.jpg" alt="Photo - Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3818044728b924b8452bf122565fb7a0.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-880a0dcec30b362cc6a82848a9f0f7e3.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b6a6469ab8f9ce1141abd873e95a6522.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction on the rotunda for the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction on the rotunda for the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction on the rotunda for the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5e8791431878df32240a36b45e4e1c55.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6c4a4b5e5f4d8097b12b28de055f9454.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2ed4eae8bf202582ddbc4aa2246d9171.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction on the rotunda for the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction on the rotunda for the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction on the rotunda for the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-60774da116c052e4cfbb755a5f1f6815.jpg" alt="Photo - Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ce7ac45c72ab2bd831ddeab1d702477c.jpg" alt="Photo - Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unloads items from a cart as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unloads items from a cart as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unloads items from a cart as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e93cb75fe7e1604b134f65e75f5d3cf8.jpg" alt="Photo - Boxes of items wait to be unpacked as Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, moves into his new office that was redone in part with the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Boxes of items wait to be unpacked as Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, moves into his new office that was redone in part with the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Boxes of items wait to be unpacked as Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, moves into his new office that was redone in part with the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-72be84af0ab0d24a9ea57f1db422ed6f.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction outside the Senate Chambers during the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction outside the Senate Chambers during the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction outside the Senate Chambers during the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ac8065e8c56a680137c0ba54006bcdff.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-377b12d861f3a6f470aa4984ffaca269.jpg" alt="Photo - Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, pushes a cart of items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, pushes a cart of items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, pushes a cart of items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-eb7b5eead5b56e4509a9ec8788ce073b.jpg" alt="Photo - Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1e7707c12efcf34b7b887e5ca988886d.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4960f6d3330349ad07914f2667af9a87.jpg" alt="Photo - Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d535863f031381ed5d1f2aa5f72201f8.jpg" alt="Photo - Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1abfcc00d26aac3279781ea41a333434.jpg" alt="Photo - Rep. Todd Russ unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Rep. Todd Russ unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Rep. Todd Russ unboxes items as he moves into his new office that was redone as part of the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f25082a7035c06f3abef47251a0308dc.jpg" alt="Photo - Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-723053096002e70b0d813a9266ff7cde.jpg" alt="Photo - Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Scaffolding fills the rotunda as crews continue construction on the restoration project at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Carmen Forman

Carmen Forman covers the state Capitol and governor's office for The Oklahoman. A Norman native and graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she previously covered state politics in Virginia and Arizona before returning to Oklahoma. Read more ›

Comments