BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s first family has moved into the new $5 million governor’s mansion, though work on the home is still ongoing and the required private donations to help build it have not yet been reached.
Gov. Doug Burgum said he and first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum spent their first night at the new residence on Sunday.
“It’s an honor to be the first governor, and for the first lady, to be the first in the residence, which is the ‘people’s house,'” Burgum told The Associated Press.
Capitol Facilities Manager John Boyle said final touches are still being done to the 13,600-square-foot home on the state Capitol grounds in Bismarck. He said all work should be done by early May and a public open house will occur later this summer.
The Legislature in 2015 approved construction of the new mansion, stipulating that $1 million of its cost be funded by private donations.
Bismarck businessman Jim Poolman is heading a group to raise private money, and said Thursday that about $870,000 has been raised to date.
Lawmakers had been attempting to replace the current 10,000-square-foot dwelling for years, saying it is has security issues, is not handicapped-accessible and likely contains lead paint, mold and asbestos.
Boyle said the home that had served North Dakota’s first families for more than 57 years will be torn down later this spring. Some of the old home’s architectural components have been preserved at the state museum, or incorporated into the new home, Boyle said.
The old mansion’s front doors, for example, are being used as the restroom doors for the new home’s public restrooms, he said.
The new home will be the third official residence built for North Dakota’s governors. The original was built in 1884 and still stands a few blocks south of the Capitol.
Burgum said he is only the second North Dakota governor to reside in two of the mansions. The first was John Davis, who served from 1957 to 1961.