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Phoenix Indian School’s Band Building to be Renovated

By Eric Jay Toll for Arizona Builder’s Exchange and Betty Reid for The Arizona Republic

This story contains updated information from AZBEX and fair use content summarized from The Arizona Republic.

Native American Connections CEO Dede Yazzie Devine (left) and Phoenix Indian Center CEO Patti Hibbeler outside the band room they hope to help renovate that was part of the defunct Phoenix Indian School on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. Photo Credit: Michael Schennum/The Republic

Native American Connections CEO Dede Yazzie Devine (left) and Phoenix Indian Center CEO Patti Hibbeler outside the band room they hope to help renovate that was part of the defunct Phoenix Indian School on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. Photo Credit: Michael Schennum/The Republic

Students from nearly two dozen tribes attended Phoenix Indian School in central Phoenix for nearly 100 years. The boarding school was closed by the federal government in 1990, but two Valley non-profit groups want to revive the band building and create a place where Native Americans can again share their culture.

The Phoenix Indian Center and Native American Connections plan to raise $1.3M to restore the inside of the band building at Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road.

The two groups hope to complete the work by next February, in time for Super Bowl XLIX visitors.

AZBEX learned that the Center is in discussions with a short list of architecture firms to design the renovation. Architectural Resources Team, Inc., worked with the core organizations on concepts and facilitated a charette of former students, tribal leaders and city officials. From this session, the early plans for the renovation and restoration were generated.

The Republic story says that the Phoenix Indian School Legacy Project proposes a cultural gathering place that would include a gallery, meeting rooms, an event venue, kitchen classroom and storage on 6K square feet of property.

Native American Connections CEO Dede Yazzie Devine inside the band room she hopes to help renovate that was part of the defunct Phoenix Indian School. The dots on the wall held sound panels. Photo Credit: Michael Schennum/The Republic

Native American Connections CEO Dede Yazzie Devine inside the band room she hopes to help
renovate that was part of the defunct Phoenix Indian School. The dots on the wall held sound
panels. Photo Credit: Michael Schennum/The Republic

The project also would have a “reflection room,” especially for former Indian students, said Patricia Hibbeler, Phoenix Indian Center’s CEO. Native American Connections is the partner in the project. The effort involved trips to the reservations across Arizona. It has taken about a year to reach this stage.

Hibbeler told AZBEX that the groups are in discussions with Phoenix and looking at different opportunities for raising the needed funds. The groups have designated a project manager at the Center. ART is one of the finalists on the short list, the other firms were not disclosed. Hibbeler said that a contractor will be selected at a later date once fund raising has reached its goals.

The groups want to start construction by June.

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