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General assembly

House GOP assails some renovations, favors others

– While Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz is receiving criticism for an $86,000 office renovation, House Republicans are planning a much more expensive overhaul.

And GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma on Thursday stepped into the clash.

Ritz paid $86,000 to put up three walls in the Department of Education. The walls split large rooms to accommodate multiple offices. The top of the new walls are made out of recycled doors with glass panes to allow sunlight in.

No money was spent on Ritz’s personal office.

Bosma noted he used to work in the Department of Education back in 1985.

“My office actually used to be in the area that was redone and we seemed to be able to function OK in there for a couple years without any issues,” he said, also admitting he hasn’t seen the changes.

Meanwhile, the House-passed Republican budget contains $750,000 for an upcoming House renovation.

Both the House and Senate have included such requests over the years. The Senate spent about $2 million five years ago to upgrade its chamber.

And the Indiana House just spent $74,000 on new carpet.

House Republican Communications Director Tory Flynn said the last time the carpet was replaced was 1998.

“The carpet was threadbare and we had multiple people who snagged the carpet and tripped. It was a safety issue for us,” she said.

The upcoming $750,000 renovation will include fixing the ceiling in the House; repairing an ice machine, bathroom and chairs, as well as new staff desks, she said.