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Panel wants design approved for new N.D. governor’s residence by Dec. 1

BISMARCK - The commission that oversees North Dakota's Capitol grounds wants a design approved for a new governor's residence by no later than Dec. 1, members said Thursday. State lawmakers voted last month to spend $4 million in state funds to d...



BISMARCK – The commission that oversees North Dakota’s Capitol grounds wants a design approved for a new governor’s residence by no later than Dec. 1, members said Thursday.

State lawmakers voted last month to spend $4 million in state funds to demolish the current 55-year-old residence and rebuild in the same spot, as long as $1 million in private donations can be raised.

Approving a design by Dec. 1 will allow construction to start in spring 2016, members of the Capitol Grounds Planning Commission said.


“There’s really a lot for consideration here, and time is ticking away,” said Lt. Drew Wrigley, the commission’s chairman.

The commission reviewed the law created by Senate Bill 2304 that outlines the process for selecting a project architect and design.

A three-member committee from the Office of Management and Budget will put out a request for qualifications for architect and engineering services. Facility Management Director John Boyle said the design team could be selected by July 15.

A project selection committee – consisting of the same three members from OMB plus the House and Senate majority and minority leaders or their designees – will require the design team to provide at least three preliminary designs. Those will be presented at a public commission meeting, allowing for input from lawmakers and the public. Former governors and their families also will be consulted for input.

The law doesn’t specify who picks the final design, but Wrigley said it makes sense that the project selection committee would make the choice, subject to final approval from the eight-member commission.

“So, we would have a veto,” he said.

Wrigley said he’ll recuse himself from voting on the design because the governor and lieutenant governor are elected together and he doesn’t want to be a tiebreaking vote, adding there should be consensus on the final design.

At least $500,000 in private funds must be raised before construction of the new residence can begin. The commission will meet soon with the nonprofit Friends of North Dakota’s Governor’s Residence to appoint a task force to coordinate the volunteer fundraising effort.


Part of the commission’s discussion Thursday focused on how much space the new residence should have to accommodate meetings and events, as required by the law. Wrigley said he hopes the design team considers the existing state-owned meeting space that’s available.

“We don’t want to build something massive over there that’s only going to be used a small amount of time,” said Rep. Matthew Klein, R-Minot.

Boyle has said the hope is to have the new residence ready for the first family to move in by Thanksgiving 2017.


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