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Tribe refines building plans

Architectural plans are being refined in preparation for constructing a 100,000-square-foot tribal administration building.

Architects West, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is working on the plans, Colville Confederated Tribes Executive Director Francis Somday said.

The tribe already had plans to replace the building when its administration building was destroyed by fire last July.

Somday said square footage requirements “are being refined” for tribal offices, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Colville Tribal Federal Corp. The latter is the tribe’s business arm.

The tribe expects to pay for the building with a loan from a financial institution, new market tax credits and an insurance settlement from the fire. The estimated cost is $35 million to $36 million.

Bids should go out in January for the three-story structure, he said.

The tribe had planned to relocate the historic Skolaskin Church, which sits at the corner of the property across the street from the old administration building site, but now has decided to leave the log building in place. That church, built in the 1870s, was moved from the mouth of the San Poil River when water backed up by Grand Coulee Dam inundated the area.

Nine houses in the footprint of the new building will be razed.

The tribe has purchased nine modular homes, which will be placed this month in the Nespelem, Coulee Dam and Omak areas.

Occupants of the nine houses were given a choice of where they’d like their new homes to be, Somday said.

Other houses may be torn down in the future, he said.

Tribal officials plan to consolidate all tribal programs, administrative offices and the Colville Business Council into one building. They’re now spread all across the agency campus two miles south of Nespelem and, since the fire, into buildings south of the agency near the tribe’s correctional facility.

“The idea is to move as many critical employees and programs to one roof,” he said.

Nearly all facilities scheduled to be vacated are in very poor shape or deemed not usable.

The previous administration building had been home to the council and several tribal government offices since 1975.

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