nd.gov - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends
Picture of ND State Capitol Building Facility Management Division
ND Office of Management and Budget
OMB logo

History of Department
Board of Trustees of Public Property
Board of Control
Board of Administration
Director of Institutions
Facility Management


Back in the Territorial Days March 11, 1887, our department was called the Board of Trustees of Public Property. Duties included the control of the Capitol, the park, and the public grounds that were connected. Picture of Territorial Capitol

The Board of Control was started July 1, 1911. Duties of the department were to manage, control and govern the State Hospital for the Insane, at Jamestown; the State Penitentiary, at Bismarck; the ND School for the Blind, at Bathgate; the School for the Deaf at Devils Lake; the Institution for the Feeble Minded at Grafton; and the State Reform School at Mandan. The names of some of these institutions were later changed.

Population of North Dakota:

1900 320,000
1905 440,000
1910 577,056
1930 680,845
1940 641,935
1950 619,636
1960 632,446
1970 617,761
1980 652,717
1990 638,800
2000 641,153
2003 633,308
2005 636,677
Projected 2050 684,758

John Burke was the governor of North Dakota when the first report of the Board of Control was submitted for the biennial period ending June 30, 1912.

The city of Bismarck bought 43 acres of land for $7,000.00 and deeded it to the state for the penitentiary in June of 1883. The penitentiary had 209 convicts in June of 1910. From July 1, 1910 to June 30, 1912 another 204 were received.

The State Hospital in Jamestown had a building capacity of 625, they were accommodating 819 patients. Tuberculosis had been assuming alarming proportions the last few years. They were so crowded they had people sleeping in attics, basements, on the floor. In 1913 and 1914 approximately 700 people died from tuberculosis in North Dakota.

School for the Deaf opened in 1890, they had kids ranging in age from 7 to 24 years old, main causes the children were deaf was from scarlet fever, measles, meningitis, brain fever, typhoid fever. As the older boys and girls reached a point where they could work, they were dropping out, due to the opportunities that were offered in North Dakota for securing free farms, high wages paid for labor, and the need of help in the home circles.

The Reform School had children from the ages of 4 to 20. The Director of the School asked Governor Burke to change the name to the Training School at this time. Children were put in the school for some of the following reasons:

Incorrigibility 20
Petit Larceny 11
Disorderly and Incorrigible 2
Disorderly Conduct 8

School for the Blind opened in 1907, it was free to all blind youth in the state between the ages of 7 and twenty one. The school year ran from September 15 to June 15 each year. They had ten boys and 18 girls enrolled. In 1912 the figured that one-fourth to one-third of all cases of blindness were due to Ophthalmia Neonatorum, "Purulent sore eyes of new-born babies", which even at that time was considered a preventable disease.

The second biennial report ( June 30, 1912 to June 30, 1914) written to Governor L. B. Hanna. Stated that North Dakota may well be proud of its penal and charitable institutions, as a whole. They take front rank with similar institutions of the United States. In some respects they are unsurpassed, if they do not actually take the lead.

The Penitentiary population as of June 30, 1914, was 206 prisoners four were women. Some of the crimes that people were put in the pen for are listed below:
Picture of ND State Penitentiary

Grand Larceny 66
Bootlegging 43
Burglary in the third degree 23
Adultery 13
Procuring an abortion 1
Abandonment of wife 1

In 1915 the Board of Control was made trustees of Public Property, which gave supervision and control of the Capitol Building, Governor's Mansion, and the park and grounds connected therewith, the Street Car Line, and the Power House in Bismarck. The Board dispensed with the Capitol Custodian saving $3,600.00 for the biennial period. A new roof was installed on the newer part of the Capitol Building (1st Capitol Building). In the spring of 1916, the Bismarck Water Company at the request of the City Commission purchased two "Booster" pumps, in order to increase the pressure of water in the mains. The Board of Control, co-operating with the City Commission persuaded the Water Company to have one of the pumps installed in an unused room at the Capitol Power House. On a trial of this pump a nozzle pressure of 115 pounds to the square inch was obtained, and water was thrown at any point desired on the Capitol Roof. The fire hose kept on several floors of the Capitol Building was tested and all found to be worthless. This hose has all been replaced by new linen hose. These improvements have given the Capitol good fire protection.

In July 26, 1919, the Board of Control was renamed to the Board of Administration, duties included:
General supervision and administration of all State Penal, Charitable, and Educational Institutions, and general supervision of the Public Schools.

Second Annual Report of the Board of Administration to Governor Lynn J. Fraizier for the period covering November 1, 1919 to October 1920.

It was reported that with the creation of new departments and the growth of older ones in recent years, the Capitol Building had become inadequate for the housing of all state offices. Additional office space was provided in various building in the business section of Bismarck, some of them not very well adapted for the purpose nor offered the best fire protection. The Liberty Memorial Building now under construction will afford some relief by accommodating several of the departments now in the Capitol Building, the housing problem will by no means be solved altogether. The offices now housed downtown will have to remain there, the legislature in the very near future will have to provide for another building to be erected on the Capitol Grounds.

June 30, 1934 to June 30, 1934:
The Report of the Board of Administration stated that it was necessary to call attention to the need of a substantially increased appropriation for the maintenance of the "New" Capitol Building. A year's experience in its maintenance gives a basis for determining the cost better than it was possible to estimate it two years ago.

July 1, 1934 to June 30, 1936 Annual Report:
The price for water at the State Capitol was getting prohibitive so it was considered advisable to drill a test hole to see if good water could be procured at the Capitol. Water was encountered at 190 feet but was unusable. At a depth of 380 feet a good vein was reached of excellent water and good volume. The new well is giving excellent service and provides enough water for the lawn, trees and shrubbery for the cost of electricity for pumping the water.

The Federal Government landscaped the Capitol grounds for a cost of $21,171.89.

Board of Administration Annual Report July 1, 1936 to June 30, 1938:
When the Capitol Building was completed we had reason to believe there would be ample room for the various departments for many years to come. However, state government has grown, and the remaining office space has been given over to the Federal Government. The whole floors have been finished for them.

During the biennial period of July 1, 1940 to June 30, 1942, the board was directed to establish, maintain and operate a Capitol Telephone Exchange for all departments in the Capitol Building. Northwestern Bell Telephone Company had made the recommendation that one full time operator would be able to handle all the calls. However, soon after the system was installed, it was found that efficient service could not be given without the services of two full time operators and one relief operator. They used this system until 1980. In the 1987 Session Laws the Capitol Telephone Exchange went to the Office of Central Data Processing, know today as the Information Technology Department.Picture of telephone  operators

July 1, 1942 to June 30, 1944 Annual Report:
When the State Capitol was built and a large adjacent area blueprinted for landscaping, it was anticipated that the 18 stories of office space would be adequate for many years to come. It was anticipated that free labor from the nearby State Penitentiary would be adequate for the development and care of the extensive grounds. The depression and the war, however, have brought about some radical changes that were not contemplated in the original planning. Expansion of existing state offices during the depression and war periods has resulted in the occupancy of every office floor in the tower and the quartering of some departments and boards in the legislative wing, or renting properties in the City of Bismarck. The "saturation point" has been reached. Extensive and expensive alterations within the present capitol building or the construction of a new office building on the Capitol grounds are the only alternatives in the event of further extension of state services. Until adequate free labor is again available at the State Penitentiary, labor needed on the Capitol grounds must be procured and paid for from the appropriated funds.

Every Annual Report from 1942 until June 30, 1960 report had mentioned the need for another building at the Capitol. The 1958-1960 report stated that the state bought the Bismarck Junior College Building. The college was to occupy the building until January 31, 1961. However, they were unable to complete the new school and the Board had to extend the time of vacancy until July 1, 1961. The college paid $1,000.00 rent per month from February 1 to July 1, 1961. An architect was then hired to convert the building into an office building. This is now called the State Office Building.

A contract had been let for the installation of the fourth elevator for the Capitol Building, they expect to have this in operation no later than November 1, 1961. Currently we have one elevator that goes all the way to the 18th floor, this is the southwest elevator This project extended the service from 17th to 18th floor and was completed in 1995.

The Capitol Lunchroom contracts were out for converting the lunchroom into a cafeteria in hope to expedite serving during the 1961 legislature.

July 1, 1960 to June 30, 1962:
Part of the North Dakota Highway Department was moved into the State Office Building, the building did not house all the divisions. Many of the agencies are still asking for more space. Another office building could be used to adequately house all the departments.

Paving was completed in the front of the Capitol Building as well as opening a road to Highway 83 and the Highway Building.

The Director of Institutions was created in 1969. Duties remained the same as the Board of Administration.

The Director of Institutions Office gave control of the former Governor's Mansion to the State Historical Board on March 18, 1975.

Today we are known as Facility Management a division of the Office of Management and Budget which was started in 1991. Duties include the responsibility for the preservation and maintenance of the State Capitol Complex. In addition, the division is responsible for providing space management services for most state agencies. Facility Management manages the physical plant operations, provides Capitol tours, operates the Central Mail Bureau, and coordinates event scheduling for all of the buildings located on the 132-acre Capitol Complex. Our 66 full-time employees strive to provide a safe pleasant environment for visitors, state employees and anyone visiting the Capitol Complex.

August 2007, completion of adding a (fire) sprinkler system to the Capitol Tower.

2011, work started on the Heritage Center expansion project.