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State office building on the Capitol grounds set to be torn down

State office building
Dave Thompson
State office building

The building in the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds is set to be demolished soon.

It was built in the early 1950s, as the first stand-alone building for what was then Bismarck Junior College, now BSC. The college began in the Bismarck High School.

When BJC moved to the northwestern part of Bismarck, the building became the headquarters of the state Highway Department. Later, a new DOT headquarters was built closer to the main Capitol building, and the state office building became the headquarters of the state Water Commission – which is now the Department of Water Resources. That department moved to the Bank of North Dakota building in 2022. And the office building has been marked for demolition.

During the Legislature’s Budget Section meeting, the demolition project became a bit of an issue. Rep. David Monson (R-Osnabrock) chairs the Government Operations Section of House Appropriations. And he said he expects a request for another building project on the Capitol Grounds. So he said he and some of his committee toured the existing building.

"We felt it was definitely salvageable," Monson told the Budget Section.

But state facilities manager John Boyle said there are serious problems with the building.

"A mold issue, and a water infiltration issue," Boyle said.

Boyle told the Committee the issue with water has been going on since the 1950s. He said the building was likely built over and underground river.

"Sometimes, a building will get a stigma, as to once there is mold, will you ever get the mold out of the building?" Boyle said. "The building has been remodeled twice already, since it was built. So this would be the third time."

Boyle said it's just very difficult when you have a cinder-block building, to keep water from being absorbed from the bottom, and coming up through the walls.

The plan is to use the dirt from the new State Laboratory construction on the Capitol grounds to fill in the hole.

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