Community , Culture , Government

Pawhuska Village Committee members approve design plans for new Wakon Iron and chapel buildings

Osage Nation officials, including the Pawhuska Indian Village Committee, received a preview of design plans for a new larger Wakon Iron Community Building and chapel structure.

On Aug. 10, officials met with Tulsa-based architects who worked on the plans at the current Wakon Iron building, which is subject to replacement due to its aging wear and tear issues. The nearby chapel building is also subject to replacement with a larger structure.

The meeting comes ahead of the 2020 Tzi-Zho Session when the Seventh ON Congress meets to discuss and consider its budgets for the 2021 fiscal year budget operations and other projects and endeavors presented to the 12-member legislature for consideration.

According to legislation filed with the Congressional office, a $1.7 million appropriation bill (ONCA 20-65) sponsored by Congresswoman Paula Stabler is slated to be introduced when the Tzi-Zho Session starts. The bill is requesting the funding for construction on the new village chapel with discussion and consideration to take place during Congressional committee meetings during the session.

According to the building plans, the new larger Wakon Iron building is 18,125 square-feet and will be built on the current building site. New parking spots will also be included around the building and plans also call for using federal funding awarded to the ON Roads Department to handle the roadwork.

Talee Redcorn, a project manager for the Nations Tribal Development and Land Acquisition Department said the new building is large enough to include both the new Hominy and Grayhorse village community buildings together.

Marjorie Williams, village committee chairwoman, said the new building will also contain showers in the restrooms since there are none in the new community restrooms built with the dance arbor in 2015.

The community building will also feature: larger restrooms, a family room, an industrial-size kitchen, pantry, laundry and storage rooms and a room designated for the Drumkeeper. Outside the building, there will also be a new cook shed area as well.

For the new chapel building, the plans call for the structure to be built to the west of the Wakon Iron building due to its larger size that will take up space where the current chapel building stands.

Design professionals with Wallace Engineering – procured by the Nation – discussed the plans with the Village Committee members and other community members present. The new chapel will be approximately 4,600 square feet with room to seat about 200 people and accommodate about six sofas along the walls, Redcorn said. The building will also contain a warming kitchen, pantry and restrooms with ADA-compliant showers.

Timelines and construction costs are expected to be discussed during the 24-day Tzi-Zho Session as the Congress considers budgetary and various legislative matters.

On Aug. 18, the Village Committee members signed off on a written resolution approving the design plans. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear recommended the committee reach an agreement on the plans before the Congress starts its consideration of the plans for any appropriation bills to start funding construction activities.