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State Capitol entrance change coming


By the end of 2020, the front entrance to the state Capitol will change.

And plans are now being drafted for that project.

The biggest change: the tunnel will be closed off -- and the public entrance will move to the east end of the closed tunnel. That tunnel was closed to vehicle traffic in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

The iconic stairway will stay where it is.

State director of facilities management John Boyle said some landscaping will also be done to the south of the entrance.

"As a visitor, it will look like it was originally that way," Boyle said. "As you look at it from the south, and you see the 'North Dakota' flowers, and you're taking pictures, you won't notice anything different -- except for landscaping."

Boyle said next week, J2 Studios and Design – the Bismarck firm hired to do the plans for the Capitol entrance – will present four designs, and his office will prioritize those four. Boyle said the Capitol Grounds Planning Commission will meet in late October or early November, and the public will be invited to that.

"At that time, the Planning Commission will determine which one of the four they want to go with," Boyle said. "Or they may say, 'No -- go back to the drawing board.'"

Boyle said the plan is to have the work completed on the new entrance area before the 2021 Legislature convenes.  The price tag is $2 million.

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