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Multiple donations anticipated for N.D. governor's residence

By Nick Smith Bismarck Tribune BISMARCK -- Multiple large private donations are expected to be announced this week for cost of constructing a new North Dakota governor's residence. Members of the public also will have their opportunity Tuesday to...

 

By Nick Smith

Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK -- Multiple large private donations are expected to be announced this week for cost of constructing a new North Dakota governor’s residence.

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Members of the public also will have their opportunity Tuesday to provide suggestions and ideas on how the home of the state’s top elected official should be built. A public input meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Pioneer Room inside the Capitol.

John Boyle, director of North Dakota Facility Management, said representatives from Chris Hawley Architects of Fargo will be on hand to provide an overview of the project and show off preliminary designs.

“We’ll have a time for public input. The Capitol Grounds Planning Commission wants to hear from the public,” said Boyle, adding he hopes to see a full room.

Legislation passed this spring 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. Construction won’t begin until at least $500,000 in private donations are pledged.

The bid opening for the project is on track for early next year with a tentative completion date of Thanksgiving 2017.

Funds are in the process of being raised by a task force appointed by the Capitol Grounds Planning Commission and a nonprofit Friends of the Residence group formed in the 1980s to address renovations to the governor’s residence.

The Capitol Grounds Planning Commission this fall approved a layout that puts the new home just north of the existing residence, with a public entrance on the east side facing the Capitol and the private entrance on the west side. It also unanimously agreed that a one-story home is preferred.

Fundraising group task force co-chairman Jim Poolman said tens of thousands of dollars have been raised online and, within a week’s time, the group plans to announce multiple large donations.

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“We have made significant progress on our goal," said Poolman, adding that there are at least three large donations.

While Poolman declined to get into specifics, he said the large donations will put the group close to its objective of having the $500,000 needed to begin construction by the end of the year.

“We’re hoping that this long-lasting legacy that we’re building will be appealing to people,” said Poolman, expressing that the level of interest in the governor's residence has been impressive.

The current 10,000-square-foot residence was completed in 1960 and is in need of repairs in excess of $2.8 million, according to a study conducted a few years ago. Security concerns and handicapped accessibility are among the primary issues with the current residence.

 

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