Third ON Congress votes 7-6 to appropriate $13 million for campus master plan

The Third Osage Nation Congress voted to appropriate $13 million toward building phase one of the new government campus master plan on April 18.

The bill (ONCA 13-13 sponsored by Congressman RJ Walker) authorizes the $13 million to come out of the Nation’s general treasury fund and places it into a revolving fund for construction of the long-discussed master plan to replace the current old and outdated campus infrastructure.

During a late afternoon session, the legislative body voted 7-6 to pass ONCA 13-13, which is an act to establish the revolving fund for the campus master plan. The bill also appropriates $13 million from the Nation's general treasury fund to be spent on completing phase one of three proposed building phases of the plan.

Assistant Principal Chief Scott BigHorse broke the tie with a "yes" vote. Also voting "yes" were Congress members: Archie Mason, RJ Walker, Shannon Edwards, John Free, Alice Buffalohead and Congressional Speaker Raymond Red Corn.

"No" votes came from Geoffrey Standing Bear, William "Kugee" Supernaw, Maria Whitehorn, Daniel Boone, John Jech and John Maker.

ONCA 13-13’s passage is the latest step in efforts made by the ON government to fund the master plan being developed by Seattle-based architectural firm CollinsWoerman. The Congress passed a resolution (ONCR 13-01, Walker) during a December 5 special session to authorize the Executive Branch to seek a $10 million loan to also fund phase one of the master plan. The loan resolution passed with the same 7-6 vote count with Assistant Principal Chief BigHorse breaking the tie.

During the December special session, Executive Branch officials noted estimates to build phase one would reach $22.7 million.

According to the master plan, ON departments easily accessible in close proximity by Osages and visitors will be built in phase one with the welcome center. The Nation’s police department and Treasury office would also get new buildings. Other entities including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, roads and government branches will also receive new buildings.

Historical buildings including the Superintendent’s house, Tribal Museum and Principal Chief’s office will remain standing with the proposed master plan buildings. Seattle-based architectural firm CollinsWoerman created the master plan and has been working with the Nation since 2009. A planning committee selected the firm in 2009 during the Principal Chief Jim Gray administration.

Principal Chief John Red Eagle signed ONCA 13-13 into law on April 19.

Also in related news, Congress authorized extension of the Hun-Kah Session by three days as allowed by the Constitution. The session’s last day will be Thursday April 25.