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By late July, a number of items carried over from the former North Dakota governor’s residence will be all that remains from the demolished structure.

Walk in the eastside formal entrance of the new residence, and there up on the wall is the replica great seal former first lady Betsy Dalrymple had cast.

There are the front doors of the former residence, re-purposed for restroom entries. There’s the old furniture, ready to receive guests.

Look, a piano. (Don’t lean on it.)

“Overall, it’s a spectacular space,” said John Boyle, Capitol facilities management director.

At 1,500 square feet, there is room for Gov. Doug Burgum and first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum to entertain 20 to 25 people — up to 100 if tables and furniture are moved for certain events, such as a legislative reception.

“The way the space was designed, it was for more of an intimate setting,” Boyle said. In its design, the room mimics the state Capitol's Memorial Hall in its limestone fireplace, high ceiling, columns and marble floors.

A spiral staircase leads to the home’s private side, including an open living, dining and kitchen area.


A book of George Catlin’s artistry lies on a glass table. A cat named Mr. Gray has his bed near the fireplace corner.

“It’s really not a complicated house,” Boyle said. “It’s very simple, white oak. You’re going to see some nice countertops in there, but it’s really not over the top.”

Walk west out of the kitchen, and there’s a glass-walled wine cellar (it’s empty) and a half bathroom (one of six restrooms in the home).

Into the private west entrance, there are the governor’s and first lady’s offices across from each other. Hers is empty. His is neatly organized, complete with picture frames on the desk.

The home is large: 13,700 square feet, including a three-car garage and six bedrooms. A few finishing touches remain for inside, Boyle said — just some push plates for doors and a little touchup paint.

"Basically, the house is finished," he said.

Demolition began next door on the former residence on May 18. Boyle said demo work should wrap up in two weeks, followed by regrading and seeding, all likely done by late July.

Between the two residences, there’s a couple noted differences, he added: The first family and three full-time staff are separated by a floor in the new home.

The previous governor’s residence also had much more private outdoor space— 22,000 square feet, whereas the new home has less than 2,000. The new fence may relocate farther out after regrading and seeding is done, Boyle said.

He declined to describe security at the home, but said it’s better than before: “There’s more cameras, they’re in better locations and the first family is a lot more secure in this house than the former house.”

He added that $4.9 million has been spent on the project so far, including demolition of the former residence. In 2015, legislators approved the $5 million project, with $1 million to come from private donations. Boyle said a shortfall in donations of about $100,000 won't affect the project "because we're only spending what we have." If the money is raised, it'll go to outdoor improvements, he added.

"We have what is obligated to the contractors," he said.

In mid-March, the first family moved into the new residence. At the time, Burgum told the Tribune he and his wife were honored to move into the new residence, the third governor’s home in the state.

“I think it’s going to be an asset for the state of North Dakota, particularly in terms of hosting events that help us showcase what a great state this is,” he said.

Boyle said the first official event hosted at the new North Dakota governor’s residence was a dinner for the higher education governance task force on Tuesday evening.

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Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or


Guest entrance North Dakota Governor's Residence
North Dakota Governor's Residence main entry

Capitol Reporter