$40 million proposed for an expansion of the Capitol's Legislative Wing | Prairie Public Broadcasting

$40 million proposed for an expansion of the Capitol's Legislative Wing

Jan 28, 2021

Lawmakers will consider an expansion of the Legislative wing of the state Capitol building.

Rep. Ben Koppelman’s (R-West Fargo) bill would set aside $40 million from the state’s Strategic Investments and Improvements fund.

"The intent that I have is that all the committee rooms, and offices for all legislators, would be placed near the Legislative chambers," Koppelman said.

The bill would create a "Legislative Wing Oversight Committee," who would have the power to approve a design. Koppelman said the hope is to begin construction sometime during the 2021-2023 biennium.

It would be likely built where the Legislative parking lot is, on the west side of the Capitol building.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said he thinks it’s time for the project.

"It's been good that we have our offices at our desks, and we are very accessible," Wardner said. "But I'd like to think that we would at least have a small office space, where a legislator can work in some privacy, and get some work done.

"You don't get much work done when you're on the floor, because there's always somebody tuggin' on your arm," Wardner said.

Wardner said he could see a three story addition. He said the problem would be a loss of parking for lawmakers. And Wardner said earlier discussions included underground parking.

The last expansion of the Capitol building was the addition of the Judicial Wing, which opened in 1981.