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Montana Highway Patrol headquarters to move under agreement

April 14, 2021 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The governor of Montana has signed an executive order this week, taking a step toward moving the Montana Highway Patrol headquarters from Helena to Boulder.

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte said the Department of Justice will now be responsible for the former Montana Developmental Center campus in Boulder, except for the 12-bed intensive behavior center run by the Department of Public Health and Human Services, The Independent Record reported Tuesday.

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The executive order signed Monday said the departments came to an agreement last Friday for the transfer of the property to be used for the Montana Highway Patrol headquarters and training facility.

The order came as the rental lease is set to expire in June on the 7,600-square-foot (700-square-meter) building in Helena, which has served as Montana Highway Patrol headquarters since 1996. Department of Justice officials said the facility is not currently meeting the patrol’s needs and the move will save the department money.

Boulder lost about 250 jobs when the state-owned Montana Developmental Center campus shut down a few years ago. The administration building on the campus, where authorities would first occupy, is about 30,000 square feet (2,800 square meters).

“We’re excited about the move and we’re looking forward to having the highway patrol as our partners in Boulder and as an integral part of our community,” Boulder City Council President Drew Dawson said. “We will welcome them with open arms and do everything we can to make their transition comfortable.”

Employees at the Helena facility will be able to move to Boulder with their jobs.

A Senate committee is expected to hear a bill that would transfer the property from the health department to the Department of Justice. It passed the House on April 8. It is unclear how the governor’s order will impact the legislation.