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Bill stripped of $5M for new governor's residence, changed to study

BISMARCK -- A bill proposing to spend up to $5 million to demolish and rebuild North Dakota's governor's residence was stripped of its funding Monday and converted to a study instead. Sen. Jessica Unruh, R-Beulah, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill...

 

BISMARCK - A bill proposing to spend up to $5 million to demolish and rebuild North Dakota’s governor’s residence was stripped of its funding Monday and converted to a study instead.

 

Sen. Jessica Unruh, R-Beulah, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 2304, said she proposed the amendments because she "did not want the concept to die."

 

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The Legislature’s budget writers have been culling building projects in anticipation of state revenues falling short of earlier projections because of slumping crude oil prices.

 

"Capital projects are not a popular thing right now," Unruh said.

 

A study conducted a few years ago identified roughly $2.8 million in renovations needed on the governor’s residence, according to testimony heard by the Senate’s Government and Veterans Services Committee.

 

The one-story, ranch-style home was completed in 1960 and has been home to eight governors and their families. A major renovation was completed in 2000.

 

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The $5 million to raze and rebuild the home would have come from the Capitol Building Trust Fund.

 

The amended bill requires a Legislative Management study of the options for constructing a governor’s residence, including demolishing the existing residence and rebuilding on the same site at 1131 N. 4th St., in the southwest corner of the Capitol grounds. The results would be reported to the 2017 Legislature.

 

The Senate could vote on the amended bill as early as today.

 

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