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Politics & Government

More on Capitol space needs study

The chairman of a Legislative interim committee looking at space needs for state agencies says he hopes the panel will come up with recommendations for the next Legislative session on how to address those space needs.

More from Prairie Public’s Dave Thompson.

State government already rents space in buildings away from the state Capitol grounds in Bismarck – and state agencies have said they would like an additional 55-thousand square feet.

State Sen. Ronald Sorvaag (R-Fargo) chairs the interim Government Services Committee. He says at the very least, the state needs an updated master plan for facilities.

"We have a 14 year old master plan," said Sorvaag. "North Dakota has changed an awful lot in the last 14 years."

Sorvaag says updating the master plan will take some money. But he says you have experts analyze what's necessary.

Sorvaag says the plan should include where any buildings could be built – whether on the Capitol grounds or at places like the Bank of North Dakota. And he says it should also address which agencies need to stay in the Capitol itself – and which could be moved.

"Obviously, all our major agencies, such as tax and Secretary of State -- we want them on the campus, so the public can come and be where everything is," said Sorvaag.

State Rep. Gail Mooney (D-Cummings) agrees with the need for a new master plan. And she says the issue of space for state agencies is not an easy issue.

"If we had a blank building, a blank canvas, what would we wish for?" said Mooney. "Who would be there? And where would the others be? Maybe that helps us to answer the questions."

Mooney and Sorvaag say they agree with Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Vandewalle – that the three branches of government need to be represented on the main Capitol grounds.

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