Governor's residence for sale

The state is proposing the sale of the current 10,000-square-foot, 57-year-old residence for the governor of North Dakota once the new residence, under construction adjacent to the property, is ready to inhabit this fall. The residence is located at the corner of Boulevard Avenue and North Fourth Street in Bismarck.

North Dakota will be offering a brief window next month to allow parties interested in preserving the current governor’s residence to provide a plan for relocating the home after the governor moves out of it.

John Boyle, the state's facility management director, said an advertisement will be put out in mid-June to receive proposals for moving and preserving the 10,000-square-foot home.

“It’s like preserving a piece of history,” said Boyle, adding that “if it could be done, it won’t be inexpensive.”

In 2015, the Legislature authorized $4 million from the state’s Capitol Building Fund and $1 million from private donations to construct the new residence during the 2015-2017 biennium, a 13,600-square-foot home just to the north of the existing one.

Work is on track for the governor to move in by Thanksgiving.

The existing furniture will be placed in the new residence and the remaining unneeded furnishings will be sent to state surplus for sale.

For a residence that size to be moved, it would need to be split into two or three pieces, according to Boyle. If no proposals are received within a 30-day period ending mid-July, it would be demolished following the governor’s move to the new residence.

The existing residence was completed in 1960. Supporters of the project made the case that building a new home was more cost-effective rather than attend to a lengthy list of renovations for the aging home, including making it more handicap accessible.

From 1893 to 1960, the state’s governors resided in a Victorian home located at 320 E. Avenue B. The site was turned over to the State Historical Society of North Dakota in the 1970s.

Jim Poolman, co-chair of the task force raising the $1 million in public donations for the new residence, said about 65 percent of the money has been raised. Efforts were slowed during the legislative session since co-chair Rep. Pamela Anderson, D-Fargo, and a few other lawmakers that are part of the group clearly had other priorities, he said.

“We’ve got a couple large announcements we’re hoping to make early this summer,” Poolman said of larger corporate donations.

Poolman said he’s confident the group can reach its goal by sometime this summer.

“This is North Dakota’s calling card,” Poolman said of such projects. “I hope the people will want to participate in that.”

The general contract was awarded to Northwest Contracting Inc. and the mechanical contractor is Northern Plains Heating, Cooling and Air. Both are Bismarck-based companies.

The electrical contract went to Fargo-based Magnum Electric Inc., which has an office in Bismarck.

Boyle said the companies have done a great job staying on track, with about 70 percent of the construction complete.

He said their work on keeping on task was impressive given the series of large storms that blanketed the area with snow from late November through the end of 2016 and into early January. A large portion of the roughly 70 inches of snow this past winter in the Bismarck area came during that several week stretch.

“With all the snow we had in November and December, they only missed one day of construction,” Boyle said.

More information on the residence or to donate to the construction of the residence, visit www.friendsoftheresidence.com.

(Reach Nick Smith at 701-250-8255 or 701-223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.)

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