The original plan was to convert Fort Lincoln into a reform school, but the Legislature passed an act in 1901 to erect a building on a 40-acre parcel of farm land west of Mandan. The main building was completed the following year, and on May 13, 1903, the new institution was opened. Since 1903 the facility has served as the stateís center of juvenile justice administration and operation under such names as: State Reform School from 1903-1919; State Training School from 1920-1960; State Industrial School from 1961-1994 and the North Dakota Youth Correctional Center from 1995 to present.
The NDYCC includes four cottages, administration and education facilities, a gymnasium with an indoor swimming pool, a chapel and a cafeteria. The institution was able to avoid encompassing its campus with a wall or a fence by remodeling Pine Cottage into a security facility for high-risk juvenile offenders.