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Gov. Stitt approves arch construction at Oklahoma Capitol complex

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Kyle Phillips
For Oklahoma Voice
Oklahoma State Capitol Building

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday signed a measure to build an arch on the south side of the Oklahoma Capitol complex.

The cost is $4.3 million.

House Bill 4012 said the purpose of the arch is to honor the Oklahoma National Guard, which has a lengthy history of state and federal service.

Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, is the House author.

He said the arch could be built within the next two years.

“I think it will be a great addition to the Capitol complex to honor the Oklahoma National Guard,” McBride said.

A rendering of the proposed original "Victory Arch" designed by Soloman Layton at time of original Capitol construction.
Oklahoma Legislature
A rendering of the proposed original "Victory Arch" designed by Soloman Layton at time of original Capitol construction.

He said the arch will tell the story of the Oklahoma National Guard, including the conflicts in which the men and women served.

Architect Solomon Layton included drawings of the arch in early plans for the Capitol, which was completed in 1917.

It was one of the structures, like the dome, that was not constructed because of a lack of funding at the time.

Some have been critical of spending money on an arch.

Sometimes people take for granted the freedoms they have, McBride said, adding that it is important to build the arch to demonstrate and honor the sacrifices.

The arch is expected to be 30 feet tall and 60 feet wide.

An amphitheater seating 100 people and a veteran’s park will also be constructed, said Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City.

“I am thrilled to death he signed it,” said Stanley, the Senate author. “It is going to be gorgeous.”

She said the arch will separate the Oklahoma Capitol from any other capitol in the country.

The state recently completed a $245 million renovation and upgrade to the building.

Years ago, a dome was added to the facility.

In 2015, the State Capitol Repair Expenditure Oversight Committee unveiled possible plans for a $65 million three-story parking garage, a reflecting pool and the arch.

The garage and reflecting pool have not been pursued.

Oklahoma Voice is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oklahoma Voice maintains editorial independence.

Barbara Hoberock is a senior reporter with Oklahoma Voice. She began her career in journalism in 1989 after graduating from Oklahoma State University. She began with the Claremore Daily Progress and then started working in 1990 for the Tulsa World. She has covered the statehouse since 1994 and served as Tulsa World Capitol Bureau chief. She covers statewide elected officials, the legislature, agencies, state issues, appellate courts and elections.
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