The Capitol will be without power and closed for a week in October to replace the antiquated electrical infrastructure.

“As in all aspects of the Capitol Restoration project, safety is our No. 1 priority,” Capitol Restoration Project Manager Trait Thompson said. “All electricity in the building will be shut off to ensure the safety of our construction crews. The Capitol will be closed to ensure the safety of the public and tenants of the building.”

The plan is to shut down the power at 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 13, have the work completed by Oct. 20, and the Capitol reopened by Monday Oct. 23 (See work schedule). Workers will wear arc-flash suits and use electrical meters to reduce the chance of electrical shock during replacement of the existing 60- to 70-year-old main electrical service. Crews will work around the clock putting in about 1,100 labor-hours during the project.

“This is quite a bit more intricate than just flipping off a switch in your house or turning off a breaker,” said Andrea Gossard, project manager for Manhattan Construction.

“When you’re talking about this sort of voltage, there’s virtually no way to work it safely when you’re talking about the termination,” said Gossard in a video detailing the electrical power project. “That’s why you have to completely shut down the power to do the work.”

Upon reviewing the plans, the Oklahoma Fire Marshal issued a letter saying the absence of electricity in the building “enhances the life safety concerns to the legislature, workers and visitors.” Among the concerns cited will be an out-of-service fire alarm, nonworking elevators and nonfunctioning emergency lights and exit signs.

The work in October will allow the old and new systems to run parallel during restoration. As restoration progresses, electrical service will be switched from the old to the new, thus limiting the need for future power outages (See Manhattan Construction work memo).

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services met with building tenants earlier today to let them know of the closure in October and in order to give them time to make arrangements for maintaining daily operations. If an agency needs help relocating during the closure, OMES can work with them to find space.

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