NEW TOWN Representatives of the Three Affiliated Tribes are working on funding to staff the new Elbowoods Memorial Health Center and also funding to build staff housing at the site.
Early last month the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was awarded $17 million in the fiscal year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act to build the health center on the north side of New Town on Fort Berthold Reservation.
The North Dakota congressional delegation was very supportive in getting the funding for the new health facility, said Jim Foote, health center project director.
Members of the Three Affiliated Tribes business council and others instrumental in the new Elbowoods Memorial Health Center project pose with a sketch of the facility to be built in New Town. Front row, from the left, are Stella Berquist, Frank Whitecalfe, Marcus Levings and Barry Benson. Back row, from the left, V. Judy Brugh, Arnie Strahs, Scott Eagle, Mervin Packineau and Jim Foote.
Tribal representatives Chairman Marcus Levings, Jim Foote, health center project director, and Stella Berquist, chief executive officer of the Minne-Tohe Health Center and Tribal Health Program, met March 26 with several agencies to discuss funding and sources. The new facility is scheduled to open in February 2011.
During the March 26 meetings the group met with representatives of Indian Health Service at IHS headquarters in Rockville, Md. They also met with Jodi Gillette, deputy associate director for Tribal Issues with the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and representatives of the Office of Rural Development's Housing Program.
The new facility is being built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and when the Corps completes the construction, the facility will be turned over to Indian Health Service.
The tribe is instrumental in providing the funding for the construction, staffing and housing.
To be built north of Fort Berthold Community College in New Town, the new health center will replace the existing Minne-Tohe Health Center west of New Town. The new facility will provide more services than the present Minne-Tohe Health Center does.
The Minne-Tohe has 33 full-time staff. The new facility will have 124 additional staff, Foote said.
The plans are to build 80 homes for staff, including physicians.
The health center already is being designed. Last year the Corps awarded a $1.48 million contract to HDR Architecture of Denver to start designing the facility.
During last year's appropriations process, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Committee, secured about $3 million for the architectural and engineering portion of the project. The $1.48 million contract is part of the $3 million.
Corps and HDR representatives are tentatively scheduled to meet with tribal representatives later this month for completion of 90 percent of the design. That timeline has been moved ahead and is about a month earlier than previously planned.
The design reflects the tribe's culture and the geography of the reservation, Foote said.
As soon as the ground is dry, the tribal Roads Department will start building the road that will go to the new health center, Foote said.
The bid opening and bid award for construction of the new health center is scheduled for late June.