AMIDON (AP) - North Dakota's least-populated county is building a $4 million courthouse.
Dirt work has begun for the new facility in the Slope County seat of Amidon, The Dickinson Press reported. It will replace a 1917 structure that is the last remaining wood-frame courthouse in the state.
The existing courthouse needs major upgrades and doesn't even have space for a jury in its courtroom. The new 2,900-square-foot courthouse is expected to be ready next September.
"Hopefully, the new one will be here for another hundred years," County Auditor Lorrie Buzalsky said.
Slope County, in southwestern North Dakota, has only about 750 residents, but officials say the county has enough general fund and mineral royalty money to pay for the new courthouse without imposing new taxes.
"From the beginning of our discussions, we made that a priority," Slope County Commissioner Scott Ouradnik said. "We didn't want to increase taxes to build the new courthouse. With the onset of new oil exploration in Slope County, I feel that the increased space will help facilitate the increased requirement for working space that accompanies oil activity."
Amidon once held the designation of smallest county seat in the nation. It now has 30 residents, and lost the designation in the 2010 census.