After years of planning, University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate students in the College of Architecture are helping to build the new Santee Sioux Nation Family Resource Center.
Construction of the new center will begin Jan. 10 on the Santee Sioux Nation Reservation with a completion date in the fall of 2019.
The new resource facility will include a Child Advocacy Center and a Services and Support Center for Santee Sioux Nation residents and members. The 950-square-foot center will also have rooms for private interviews, observations and examinations and a room for family reunions.
The Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, Santee Sioux Tribal Council and PLAIN 2015-16 design research studio, instructed by Jason Griffiths, associate professor of architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, collaborated in the project’s designs.
The resource center will be a notable structure with its cross-laminated timber building in the Great Plains region. The design is an emerging form of construction that offers an alternative to concrete and steel.
“Once completed, the Santee Sioux Nation Family Resource Center will become a showcase for advanced forms of engineered lumber construction,” Griffiths said in a Nebraska Today article. “[It] will demonstrate how the College of Architecture is promoting new, innovative forms of architecture to the next generation of architects.”
In spring 2016, graduate students created the facility through careful consideration and input from stakeholders, like the tribal council and foundation.
For example, Griffiths said the children and families can utilize the center during difficult emotional circumstances. Griffiths said windows will be partly obscured with a one-way screen to provide privacy in examination rooms, while gathering spaces will have larger windows to invite reconciliation.
Griffiths said the Santee Sioux Nation Family Resources Center provides an example of how UNL’s College of Architecture can provide meaningful change for Nebraskans living in challenging situations.
“Teaching architecture through ‘design-build’ presents a unique opportunity to provide quality buildings for people who would not normally have the benefit of our profession,” he said.