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GRDA revises costs for remodeling Oklahoma City office space

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Grand River Dam Authority spent more than $90,000 to remodel a Bricktown office the state agency is leasing, a figure that is eight times more than previously reported, The Oklahoman reported in a copyrighted story in Sunday's edition.

``I just didn't have all the numbers,'' Kevin Easley, the authority's general manager, said in explaining the difference.

Easley said the discrepancy was caused mainly by not including payroll costs of maintenance crews who worked on the project.

``That's the lion's share of the difference,'' he said.

Since September, up to eight GRDA employees at a time have worked to renovate a 2,177-square-foot office above Hooters Restaurant in the Miller Jackson Co. building.

The authority will pay $22.21 per square foot for the first year, which is more than double the average rate paid by state agencies.

Estimated cost for the first year of the lease is $48,351. The lease rate drops if it is renewed for a second and third year, but increases thereafter.

The authority is a state agency the Legislature created to manage the waters of the Grand River and its tributaries, along with Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and W.R. Holway Reservoir. It operates three hydroelectric dams and provides electricity to cities, electric cooperatives and industrial customers in 24 counties, mainly in northeast Oklahoma.

Easley has said the Bricktown office will provide a place to work with legislators, the governor's staff and other agencies. It also will attract foot traffic where the GRDA can promote tourism, he said.

``We do feel strongly that we need an office in Oklahoma City, but, in retrospect, we may not have put it in the Bricktown area, in looking at it a little more closely,'' Easley said.

State Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, whose district includes the authority's Vinita headquarters, previously said most lobbying takes place at the Capitol. Lawmakers rarely visit lobbyists' offices, Ford said.

In response to an open records request earlier this month by The Oklahoman, the authority said it had spent $11,211.89, all on materials, to renovate the Bricktown office.

Overlooking the Bricktown canal, the office features detailed woodwork, and its four large offices have new furniture, including one with a loveseat. A conference room includes a 20-foot table and another loveseat.
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