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Congressional committee reviews plans for Legislative Branch building

According to preliminary and conceptual design plans, the proposed new Legislative Building site will be on the Nation’s campus property along the Circle Road north of the Welcome Center.

Members of the Eighth Osage Nation Congress viewed preliminary plans and a design for a new Legislative Branch building now in the works and proposed to be added to the government campus.

Currently, the 12-member Congress meets for its committee meetings and sessions in a Main Street building in Pawhuska next to the former First National Bank building now owned by the Nation. The Congress started exploring options for a new building in recent years and approved funding last year to design a new building for meetings and Congressional member and staff offices that will be located “on the hill” with the other branches and several departments.

Preliminary and conceptual design plans by Tulsa-based Native LLC and Selser Schaefer Architects, show the proposed new Legislative Building design plans. Courtesy Photo

The Congressional Affairs Committee met on Aug. 23 to hear an update on the building plans from Congresswoman Jodie Revard, who is a legislative liaison for the project along with Congressional legal counsel Loyed “Trey” Gill.

According to preliminary and conceptual design plans, the proposed new Legislative Building site will be on the Nation’s campus property along the Circle Road north of the Welcome Center. The new structure will also be south of the new Child Care facility that is currently under construction.

Revard said the building itself measures 15,453 square feet according to the concept plans and the building will include features including a new legislative chamber area for session, a conference room, an outdoor patio, a kitchen and break room, documents file room, individual offices for Congress members, officers and staff, and a visitors and reception area.

Revard added the designs are subject to change pending further review and consideration by the committee and Congress, which convenes for the 2023 Tzi-Sho Session starting Sept. 5. She also noted construction funding for a new building is also subject to further consideration during the upcoming fall session.

Congress will consider appropriation bill ONCA 23-86 (sponsored by Revard), which is “An Act to authorize and appropriate the amount of $8,418,930 to the Capital Asset Fund for a new Legislative Branch building.” According to the bill, the proposed funding source is the retained revenue fund to cover building costs as well as fixtures, furniture and technology features.

Preliminary and conceptual design plans by Tulsa-based Native LLC and Selser Schaefer Architects, show the proposed new Legislative Building site location. Courtesy Photo

In reviewing the designs with the committee, Revard said the plan also includes covered parking for Congressional members, staff, as well as the Assistant Principal Chief. For cost concerns, Revard noted the price could decrease if Congress decided to not include everything in the plans such as office spaces and the covered parking, for example.

“We took everything based off of the (proposed building) survey that was initially sent out when we started this process and incorporated it as far as the interior goes,” Revard said.

Gill said “we tried to be as thoughtful as we could about the whole layout, I definitely would recommend you keep the individual offices so that members could meet with constituents on their own without having to kick out another member of Congress and you’re only talking about maybe saving probably under 1,000 square feet combined if you took out six offices. We’re looking at a building that’s going to be in place for at least the next 25 to 40 years, I would think.”

If the building is completed with separate Congress member offices, it would be the first time the elected legislative members have their own office space. Previously, the Congress members had to share offices with two or three members assigned to one office at the Chambers Building and the former bank building’s first floor where they previously were housed.

Gill added there will be a separate conference room and a committee meeting room with its own media availability, which is needed to record public meetings by audio and video means. Members including Congressional Second Speaker Pam Shaw and Scott BigHorse applauded the plans during the meeting.

Revard said the building design concept plans are the works of Tulsa-based Native LLC and Selser Schaefer Architects, which is Osage owned. In April 2022, the Seventh ON Congress approved bill ONCA 22-26 (sponsored by then-Congressman RJ Walker, who is now Assistant Principal Chief) which appropriated $750,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds toward pre-construction costs for a new COVID-19-compliant Congressional building. For more Congressional information on sessions, committees and to view filed legislative bills/ resolutions, visit the Legislative Branch website at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    Instagram: @bpolacca

    Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

    Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

    Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

    Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

    Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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