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New Oklahoma City Federal Building Opens Across Street from Bomb Site

In Oklahoma City, a new federal building opened Monday on the opposite corner from where the Alfred P. Murrah building stood before it was destroyed by a truck bomb on April 19, 1995. The new building is considered one of the most secure structures in the nation.

The new federal building in downtown Oklahoma City features shatterproof glass windows and many structural elements that make it safer in the event of another bombing. Officials say the safety measures were implemented not because of any anticipated future attack, but because safety requirements for new buildings have been improved since the bombing in the state of Oklahoma eight and a half years ago.

"This building is the state-of-the art and I would say it is the most secure building in the federal inventory today," said Matt Madison, spokesman for the Oklahoma City branch of the General Services Administration, the federal agency that manages the new building.

Even so, Mr. Madison said, there are some federal workers in Oklahoma City who are reluctant to transfer to offices in the new building. He said special counseling is being provided for those suffering from anxiety and that workers are not being forced to move if they are not comfortable being so close to where the tragic bombing took place. "There are some that through that awful event who will not and have not been been able to see their way clear in coming over. Each of the individual agencies has been very good in working with those individuals and making some kind of accommodation so that those people would not have to come to the new building," he said.

Only 25 federal employees, from the Small Business Administration, moved into the new building on Monday. Between 350 and 400 people will eventually occupy the building in various federal offices. Federal agencies have been scattered around the Oklahoma state capital since the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people.

A former U.S. soldier named Timothy McVeigh was convicted of having carried out the bombing and was executed for the crime more than two years ago.