While residents of Lake Texoma grow increasingly frustrated with the lack of activity taking place at their state lodge, there is growing excitement at Lake Murray.

During a Lion's Club meeting Thursday afternoon, Lewis Logan, General Manager, Lake Murray Lodge, said construction on the park's new lodge is slated to begin in August. The project is expected to take 18 months.

"I thought it would be winter or early winter before it began," Logan said.

Logan began his presentation with the history of gaining funding to secure the new lodge. He credited former senator Johnnie Crutchfield for his vision in setting up a trust fund to preserve structures within state parks. In an effort to build a new lodge at Lake Murray, a request was made for $18 million out of the $25 million fund. Logan said two powerful legislators opposed the expenditure, wanting to use the funds for capital renovation.

Gov. Mary Fallin supported the lodge and asked for a meeting with the two legislators. Logan said as the legislators sat in the governor's office, a vote was called for the lodge, which passed unanimously.

The lodge will feature a ballroom that is twice the size of the current one. The front desk will sit on two boulders and there will be a fireplace for warm nights.

"It is designed for customer and guest pleasure," Logan said.

There will also be significant technology upgrades in an effort to make the lodge timeless.

"This is a one-shot deal," Logan said. "There will never be another new lodge built."

The lodge will also feature a restaurant that extends onto the lake with a covered porch for outdoor dining. Daytime slips will be available for guests to off of the lake. In total, there will be 16 rooms in the lodge and there will be pods with eight rooms each.

A meeting building will also be a new addition with a kitchen and space for recreational activities. There are also plans in another phase for cabins along the lakefront. Each cabin would have two rooms and a boat slip.

Logan said the current lodge would be closed six weeks prior to the new lodge opening so that materials can be transferred over to the new facility.

Michael Pineda