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Burgum's move into new residence not expected for a couple months

The new North Dakota governor's residence nears completion on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. Gov. Doug Burgum and first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum aren't expected to move in until March. John Hageman / Forum News Service

BISMARCK — Marking another delay, Gov. Doug Burgum isn't expected to move into the new North Dakota governor's residence for at least two months as crews put the finishing touches on the project.

But state officials aren't worried about pushing back previously announced timelines.

Meanwhile, a committee raising $1 million for the residence remains short of that goal, but Facility Management Director John Boyle said any fundraising delays won't hold up Burgum's move.

"It's going to be sometime in the month of March, I just don't know if it'll be in the first couple weeks of March or the latter part of March," he said.

Boyle previously said the governor and first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum would move into the new residence this fall, and the Bismarck Tribune recently reported movers were tentatively scheduled for this week. But the weather suddenly took a turn for the worse, Boyle said, and "high-end" interior finishes are still taking some time.

"And it's difficult sometimes to get those exactly correct," he said. Boyle said he wasn't "concerned at all" about the project and the contractor "is doing the best they can."

Tom Todd of Northwest Contracting, the project's general contractor, said they are finishing the punch list on the private side of the building. He said there was a change on the public portion of the project dealing with the "reconfiguring of a stairway."

"We're working through that with the architect and the owner," Todd said.

Boyle said the first family has been patient with the construction process. In a statement, the governor and first lady said they are "honored to be living in the current residence" and "look forward with gratitude and anticipation to be the inaugural first family to serve from the new residence."

State lawmakers approved the $5 million project in 2015, requiring that $1 million come from private donations. Jim Poolman, vice chairman of the state Republican Party who co-chairs the committee raising funds, estimated this week that they're less than $100,000 short.

"There are outstanding commitments, they haven't come in yet," he said. "It may be a week after the new year, it may be two weeks after the new year, but the bottom line is we're going to fulfill the commitment that we set out to do."

Poolman previously said they were working under a Thanksgiving deadline to raise the full amount. Boyle said they have enough funds to pay the contracted amount, and additional money has been earmarked for new furniture and "enhanced landscaping."

The current residence, located next door to the new one on the southwest corner of the Capitol grounds, will be demolished after the state received no formal offers to move the structure nearly 60 years after it was built. The current building has numerous issues, lawmakers have said, including asbestos, security and a lack of handicapped accessibility.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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