BUTTE If you build it, they will come.
That's what organizers
of a new youth center at Eagle Butte are hoping.
The $2.1 million
youth center is scheduled to open on Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation
in the summer of 2005 because its youth dreamed big.
For Cheyenne River's
Youth Program executive director Julie Garreau, the 22,700-square-foot
structure is the culmination of three years of fund-raising, land
acquisition and construction.
planning for it by visiting three high school classes and asking
the kids what they wanted in a teen center," Garreau said.
What they wanted,
Garreau promised to deliver.
place is built on broken promises," Garreau said of her home
reservation. "When we make a promise, we keep it."
The Cheyenne River
Youth Project, in partnership with Running Strong for American Indian
Youth, will host a ground-breaking ceremony for the Cheyenne River
Youth Project Teen Center at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 15, at The
Main, south of the Eagle Butte Elderly Nutrition Center. A meal
and social will follow at 11:30 a.m.
In a place where
basketball is king, the center includes an indoor, regulation-sized
basketball court. But it is the attention paid to the cultural aspects
that has introduced some surprises. This includes a dance studio,
art lab, computer lab, library and Internet cafe, Garreau said.
The eatery will
feature Internet computer hookups and seating for 55 people. It
will also provide revenue for the center. But more than offering
a cup of coffee or a sandwich, the center will offer a place for
youth to play, dream and build for the future, she said.
The CRST council
gave the project tribal land for the center. Si Tanka University,
the community college, will provide labor, equipment and dirt to
fill and prepare the site of the future center. Demolition of an
abandoned building started May 19, with Si Tanka University workers
tearing down the structure and clearing the work site, Garreau said.
The new center will
accommodate volunteers who come to the reservation for summer internships,
volunteer opportunities and mission trips.
Designed by Thurston
Design Group of Rapid City, the new complex will incorporate the
current youth center with a 100-by-142-foot metal building.
Jim Baldwin, project
manager, said they would reuse the existing center but create new
space inside of it.
to convert it into classrooms, library, living quarters and administrative
space," he said.
A new metal building
will house the kitchen, gymnasium, locker rooms, mechanical room,
public restrooms and storage.
Baldwin gives the
project about an eight- to 10-month timeline for construction to
be completed. Building a new gymnasium will take time, but time
will be saved by putting together the large pre-engineered metal
building with pre-manufactured structural frames, he said.
utilitarian," he said. "We're going to play a little with
colors and with a few curving interior walls for playfulness."
The Internet cafe
will connect the existing building with the new building. Baldwin
said an industrial aesthetic would be adopted for the space with
ample room to seat 55 customers.
classrooms each hold 25 to 30 students, and the computer room will
have space for 16 stations," Baldwin said.
That's music to
A tribal member,
Garreau founded the Cheyenne River Youth Program in 1988. As director
since the beginning of the program, Garreau wants to keep recreational
activities available and focused on children ages 4 to 12 but also
expand to provide activities to youth ages 13 to 18. The center
sponsors community gardens as well as a midnight basketball project
to keep youths active.
In November 2002,
the youth program received a $250,000 challenge grant from Running
Strong, the second grant of its kind awarded to the program. It
helped launch a capital campaign that helped raise a third of the
$2.1 million needed for the new center's construction, she said.
"It gave us
leverage and a foundation to raise other funds," Garreau said.