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 the North Dakota State Reform School in 1903, North Dakota State Training School in 1920, the North Dakota Industrial School in 1961 and the North Dakota Youth Correctional Center in 1995.
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.