We have been discussing the Visitor Center project now for over a year and reviewing the progress of the construction for the past 6 months. But it’s easy to lose sight over what the project is about and who it’s for. I thought we would refresh ourselves on both of these subjects.
Who is the project for…
The Client is the Chickasaw Nation one of thirty-four federally recognized Native American tribes in Oklahoma. The native lands of the Chickasaws are located throughout parts of Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee. The Chickasaws were among several Native American tribes that were relocated to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. But theirs was a part of a tragic tale in history known as the Trail of Tears. The Chickasaw Nation land is located in south central Oklahoma and its boundary covers thirteen counties. The headquarters of the Chickasaw Nation now is located in Ada, Oklahoma.
The Chickasaws have grown to be a progressive, forward thinking tribe that is focused on enhancing the life of the Chickasaw people as well as being a great partner with the State of Oklahoma and its communities.
Ultimately, though, the center is for the people who come to the area seeking to plan their visit.
What is the project about…
The “vision” of the Chickasaw Nation is to create a Visitor Center for the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and other area attractions that will be prominently located at the intersection of Oklahoma Highway 7 and US Highway 177 in Sulphur, Oklahoma at the entrance to the park lands. The facility will serve as both a visitor information center and administration office. The purpose of the Visitor Center will be to draw people into the park, highlight local attractions and educate visitors about the Chickasaw Nation’s connection and history with the park.
FSB brainstormed with the Chickasaw leadership to craft a message that would embody the vision of the Visitor Center in a clear project declaration. This led to the creation of the “mission statement” for the Chickasaw Visitor Center:
“To communicate both the Chickasaw and National Park history and heritage to the public and to create interest and excitement about the park and surrounding area attractions.”
The site is an approximate 0.7 acre parcel of land situated on the northeast corner of the intersection of State Highway 7 and US Highway 177 (West First Street). For a pair of intersecting, two lane highways, this is a heavily traveled section with significant truck traffic delivering goods to the Oklahoma interior. This site lies between Davis Avenue on the south and Muskogee Avenue on the north and sits directly south of the Artesian Hotel, currently under construction. The site is bounded by the downtown area to the west and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area on the south.
When completed, visitors can come to the center, plan their activities and stay in the area. Kiosks located in the gallery space will help visitors research information on area attractions and guide them through an afternoon or multiple day adventure.
Chukmashki (thank you)
Che Pisa Lah Cho (see you again)
the opening and closing words are Chickasaw translated into English