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Politics & Government

Interim committee looking at state agency space needs

An interim Legislative committee is looking at space needs for state agencies.

Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports.

A number of agencies have leased space around Bismarck – because there’s currently no room in the Capitol. One agency – the Information Technology Department – is moving out of its space in the Capitol’s judicial wing into a building outside the Capitol grounds that it’s leasing. Several other agencies will be moving into that space – including the North Dakota Supreme Court, which will get about 4-thousand square feet.

"We appreciate the additional space, and we will put it to good use," said state court administrator Sally Holewa. "However, I do need to say that the space is not sufficient to meet our current needs or future needs."

Holewa says the solutions are to find more space in the Capitol – or to find space outside the Capitol.

State Sen. Ron Carlisle (R-Bismarck) suggested the state could look at building new space on the land where the Bank of North Dakota is – in western Bismarck near the Missouri River.

"When we built the Bank,  we've got another 3 1/2 acres sitting there, right to the east of the Bank of North Dakota that you and I own," Carlisle told the interim Government Services Committee.

But Chief Justice Gerald Vandewalle told the Committee he would not support the court moving off of the Capitol grounds. Vandewalle says the three branches of government should be together.

"I don't think you'd want the Legislature out there," said Vandewalle. "I don't want the Court out there, either."

The Committee will be asking state agencies to come in and explain their space needs – and what they want from the next budget.

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