We all know the State Capitol is a busy place, but did you know that on any given day the five levels of the Capitol building buzz with events hosting hundreds of citizens discussing, protesting or celebrating? Did you know you can reserve part of the Capitol and that it’s free of charge?
The Oklahoma State Capitol building shines like a beacon on a hill after over a year’s worth of cleaning and repair. They’ve still got years of work to do, though. That being said, even with construction dust flying and cranes moving about the grounds, receptions and even weddings continue to reserve time in and around the Capitol.
“We book events up to a year out,” says Adrienne Stroud. Adrienne is with OMES Capital Assets Management and she’s likely the first contact with the public for Capitol building reservations. “There’s a lot of variety in the kinds of events. We have interest groups promoting their causes, but also representatives of the whole cultural background of Oklahoma, including religious groups.”
Kelsey Bridges works with Adrienne in CAM and says some groups reserve a space for the same date year after year. “And yes, it’s free to reserve a space.”
Reservations begin with a request which is evaluated and approved or denied based upon defined criteria. Obvious criteria for denial include a previous booking, insufficient time before the event, or pre-emption by one of the legislative desks. Legislators reserve their respective halls and have some priority in the Capitol. Otherwise, fill out the paperwork and, if approved, about a week later, you’re booked!
Events are tracked on the Capitol’s online events calendar. The calendar contains activities in a large list of venues around the Capitol, including the huge greenbelt, otherwise known as Capitol Park, which extends down Lincoln Blvd. from N.E. 50th St. to N.E. 18th St. and surrounds the Capitol Complex. Add to that the five rotunda levels in the building and the plazas on the south and north sides, and you’ve got a pretty busy calendar.
The most popular area in the building is the fourth floor rotunda. “It’s closest to the dome, with a great view,” Ms. Bridges explains.
Each rotunda is a marble and granite masterpiece with paintings and statuary decorating every level. Some paintings have been taken down for the renovation, but beautiful epic murals decorate the vaulted ceilings and naves of the arches. The Hall of Governors fills one of the galleries projecting from the center. There’s a tourist office and an art museum close by. And turning a corner from the museum, one meets a magnificent replica of the 17-foot Guardian statue that adorns the Capitol’s dome outside, sculpted by Seminole State Senator Enoch Haney.
“When we have big rallies, we’ll have people all over the Capitol Park,” Ms. Bridges reports. For a reasonable price, the OMES Office of Facilities Management crew furnishes PA systems, chairs, tables; everything to make an event happen. Security is furnished by the State Highway Patrol and Department of Public Safety, regardless of the size of the crowd. OFM even sets up and tears down for the event. And they’ll do the same for small groups like wedding parties, but sorry, no rice or bird seed allowed on the polished marble floors.
There’s a long list of things not allowed on the premises, but you’ll probably agree with these prohibitions. No alcohol, no explosives, no bows and arrows, no flare guns; well, you get the idea, it’s very safe.
So what about the occasional antique weapon or musket? No loaded firearms allowed, but DPS and security will check any replicas used for ceremonies, just to make sure. It all adds up to a safe, well-run experience at a great price for the citizens of Oklahoma.
“This is the people’s building. We want to make it an enjoyable process.” Ms. Stroud says “Check the reservation calendar on the OMES website. We furnish everything for a successful event.”
All the event attendees need to furnish are their smiling faces. We know you want your wedding to be unique, but, sorry, no spear-guns!