OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Tribal Construction Director Steve Emerson gives an update on the many projects happening all over the reservation.
Where the Highway 56 Loop meets Highway 62 in Okmulgee, the new Behavioral Health Facility is still undergoing construction, Emerson said.
Emerson claimed the 26-acre property, known as the former Sewell property was purchased a couple of years ago by the Nation for the Health Department’s Master Plan to build a new healthcare clinic to serve the Okmulgee area.
According to Emerson, this 5800 square foot building designed by Childers Architect LLC brings originality for the future offices and patients that will receive services.
“It’s got all the bells and whistles, very well designed, high-end construction,” he said.
Emerson claimed the building is projected to be completed by the end of March 2022 and the Behavioral Health staff to relocate services there in early April 2022.
This project will be completed on schedule and on budget, according to Emerson.
Emerson said the Federal Roads Maintenance Building is winding down its construction phase.
The 5,000-square-foot build will include a five-bay maintenance equipment storage that Emerson says his department is excited for its usage during cold weather.
“We wished that it was finished two weeks ago,” he said jokingly referring to the winter storm that covered the Reservation. “We have never really had a facility to keep our equipment, even though it’s a small project and insignificant to everybody else, it’s real important for our us.”
The department has been frequently meeting with College of Muscogee Nation President Dr. Monte Randall and Regents Director for Institutional Effectiveness Dr. James King for the 14,700-square-foot Lecture Hall STEM Facility located at the College of the Muscogee Nation.
The facility will be designed by Anishinabe Design and will be mostly uniform with the rest of the CMN campus, according to Emerson.
Designs will include implementation of Mvskoke language and culture throughout the facility.
“We look to break ground and start construction on that project in June,” Emerson said. “It will take about 14 months to complete it.”
Currently, the department has hired a construction management company to work with Anishinabe on pricing materials and things needed for the project for approval of the GMP or guaranteed maximum price.
Another upcoming project will be a Wellness Center located at the Reintegration Program campus in Henryetta.
This facility will offer the program participants to have a place for recreational activity.
Emerson said the initial grant funding for the center does not cover the design plans the RIP has developed for this facility.
Design plans include a full-size basketball court and a place to gather, although design plans are not final.
“Right now the design that we have is about 8,400 square feet,” he said. “I am excited to try to get that one started.”
Located on the Mission St. in Okmulgee near the CMN campus and the MCN Complex, Three Ponds Elderly Housing is in its finishing stages.
Emerson claimed this is a huge project that his crew performed the dirt work on removing over a million pounds of dirt.
The Tribe’s Master Plan is in its very beginning stages which is something construction department will have a heavy hand in starting with developing an entrance into the complex from Highway 75.
The Tribal Construction Department oversees all construction projects over the Reservation. It is Emerson’s primary role to interview potential companies and contractors for the construction projects as well as implementing his immediate crew to perform smaller tasks included in project plans.
The department uses CESO preferences and Native American owned businesses while implementing Mvskoke culture in each build.
This small crew has a variety of skills between them including office staff who do design and development, heavy equipment operators, a CDL driver.
“They do a lot of work for the Nation,” Emerson said. “They save us a lot of money and to make the money go further, we perform a lot of the dirt work.”
In his five years working with the tribe, Emerson has learned more about his culture and has had the opportunity to work with almost every department.
“That’s the best part of my job,” he said. “About 50% of job is working with other departments.”
Emerson said he sees the tribe growing even more over the next five years.
The Nation and MCN Tribal Construction has constant projects big and small around the Reservation.
For more information, contact the Tribal Construction Office at: 918-549-2465.