While the new lodge at Lake Murray State Park has been open for more than a year now, efforts to renovate and improve the largest state park in Oklahoma are far from complete.
Micheal Cooley, manager of the Lake Murray Lodge, said that Phase 2 was currently in the design stage, adding that the final concept has not yet been finalized, but he anticipates the end product will double the lodge’s capacity.
“It will be more rooms, though I’m not exactly sure how many, 24 or maybe as many as 36,” Cooley said. “We are also going to add a bunk house that sleeps 50 with a common area that seats about 80.”
Cooley said the bunk house is being modeled after one in Sequoia State Park near Tahlequah which will cater to larger groups like family reunions, camps and other large group outings.
Cooley said initial designs for Phase 2 carries a price tag of about $12 million, though he was unsure of what the final price tag might be. The designs have changed since the original estimate of $12 million, which includes moving from two new buildings to one which Cooley anticipates will cut down significantly on the final cost.
“It makes it, operationally, a little more easy,” Cooley said. “It also cuts down a lot on the cost. With one building, you only have one roof and half the windows. Air conditioning is a big cost, electric, when you get down to one building, it’s a lot of cost.”
Cooley also acknowledged the potential impact of recently imposed tariffs and the constant risk of rising building costs playing a role on the final bill.
Phase 2 will occupy much of the area previously occupied by the old lodge, but won’t be as close to the water as the new facility.
Cooley said the new lodge’s occupancy rate is currently up about 6 percent year over year, while the lodge’s banquet and catering activities are up about 65 percent.
“As far as getting a room this summer, you might be able to get in on a Tuesday or Wednesday right now due to cancellations,” Cooley said. “But until the fourth week of August, you won’t be able to get a room.”
The lodge has also added a floating dock for day visitors, with overnight docking for lodge guests as well as a splash pad for the park’s swimming pool which is restricted to lodge and cabin guests.
Cooley said a third phase of development would include additional cabins south of the new lodge overlooking the lake, but is still in the conception stage and not likely to happen any time soon.