Ground is broken on the Shoshone-Bannock Early Childhood Program’s new gymnasium | Logan Ramsey, EastIdahoNews.com
FORT HALL — On March 23, parents, educators and students gathered with only a tent to shelter them from the wind to mark the groundbreaking on the Shoshone-Bannock Early Childhood Program’s future gymnasium. The ceremonial scoops of dirt mark the next step in what has been a long process.
The tribe’s website describes the ECP as a, “foundation for growth in educating children and empowering families by collaborating with community programs to enhance the quality of life for Native people.” The ECP offers the Head Start Program, Child Care Program and Early Intervention Program.
This new gymnasium has been in the works since 2019. ECP Director Glenda Marshal and Rojera Coby Yazzie, the Childcare Administrative Assistant, decided together that they needed a dedicated area where the children in their program could play.
Besides their outdoor playground, the ECP facility only has one room set up as a dedicated play area, which was originally designed for classrooms. While kids have been able to use the Timbee Hall Gym, they had to walk over a mile to get to the building.
“Our program really needed one,” said Glenda Marshall, the ECP Director.
After obtaining the funding for their project through grants and private funding groups, they took the issue to the Fort Hall Business Council. The council then directed them to Kimberly Dixey, Construction Services Manager, and Alonzo Coby, Director of the Planning Department.
Coby said the first thing they had to do was survey the ground where the gymnasium would be constructed. The second thing they had to do was have an architect do the programming, which is a pre-development phase when the needs of the facility are determined.
“The unique thing about that one was … they let the children talk to the architects about their needs and what they wanted,” Coby said.
The end product will be the vision of the kids who will be using the facility, she said. Once it’s completed, the children will be able to stay on the ECP campus and play sports in a building they took part in designing.
The tribes have many needs to meet on the reservation, with other projects in development. However, the new gymnasium has been the main priority, “Because it’s for our kids,” Coby said.
Construction on the gymnasium is expected to start in April or May, depending on the weather. The project is projected to last about nine months.
Dave Archuleta, a former Associate Tribal District Judge, recorded and posted a live stream of the groundbreaking ceremony. The second part of the ceremony is posted on the Rez Radio Fort Hall Facebook page.
A rendering of the future Shoshone-Bannock Early Childhood Program’s gymnasium | Courtesy of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes
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