PINE RIDGE, S.D. -- The Oglala Sioux Tribe, Department of Public Safety (OST-DPS) today announced that designs for a new free-standing justice center in Pine Ridge, South Dakota are nearly 50 percent complete. Marking the first major construction project approved by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in nearly a decade, the facility will house the tribe's judicial system under one roof incorporating the unique needs of Indian Country legal systems.
"Witnessing this project move forward from concept to design is a major achievement for our community," said Roxanne Two Bulls, OST grants and contracts manager. "Once completed, our new judicial center will help curb crime, improve public safety and serve as a model for future BIA reservation projects."
A ceremonial outdoor circular courtyard will serve as the new facility's focal point, providing a location for Restorative Justice ceremonies, reflection and healing. All public spaces and major waiting areas will ring around this section. A special courtroom will accommodate circle sentencing and talking circle events to keep with traditional native peacemaking principles. In addition, the design will incorporate a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver rating, awarded for the use of sustainable materials, systems and practices.
"We have worked closely with the BIA and tribal leaders to ensure that the project's key design elements are sensitive to the needs of the community," said John Cain, principal of Venture Architects and a member of the design team. "As part of this effort, a cultural artwork design competition will be open to residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Selected artwork will be prominently displayed in public areas to represent the Lakota way of life, values, leaders and history."
The new justice and detention facilities will be distinguished as one of the first to follow the BIA Office of Facilities Management and Construction's new programming and design guidelines.
In August 2010, The OST-DPS used the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act—a law that provides federally recognized Indian tribes greater control over funding that affects their welfare—to secure a $40 million grant to build an approximately 93,200-square-foot justice center complex. Following a request for qualifications process, in fall 2010 contracts were awarded to the California-based construction management/project advisory team of Gruen Associates/Beezley Management and the Wisconsin-based design team of Venture Architects/Standing Stone Design.
"We are excited to see this project move forward on schedule and on budget," said Larry Schlossberg, Gruen Associates/Beezley Management principal. "To facilitate productivity, we have introduced creative procurement strategies and innovative technology and on-line management tools to document the project electronically and refine the oversight process."
The new facility will consist of:
Oglala Sioux tribal courts
Attorney general's office
Public defender's office
Public safety offices (law enforcement, crime lab and 911 dispatch)
Corrections facility (64 adult and 18 juvenile beds)
DPS administration offices
Housing for tribal police officers
In addition to addressing the problems of deteriorating and overcrowded jails, courts and administrative offices, the project will introduce an enhanced communication tower system that will allow the OST-DPS to be on the federal digital 911 system and associated frequencies.
With the design phase complete, this summer OST-DPS will seek qualified contractors to submit their qualifications and fee proposals to fill the project's general contractor role, whose scope of work will include pre-construction estimating, scheduling, constructability review and more.
Construction is scheduled to commence by fall 2011 and take approximately 15 months to complete.