A trio of projects is on the horizon in Blackfeet Country as the Tribal Business Council has closed in on directing funds received as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While other projects are still in the preliminary planning stages, a health and wellness center, a year-round dance arbor at the Indian Days campground and a new Blackfeet Care Center are beginning to take shape.

“This proposed facility has been approved with a $30 million budget,” said architect Michael Gervais of the health and wellness center. “That includes hard costs and soft costs. Depending on construction material costs and interest from and availability of contractors, this facility could potentially be from 50,000 to 60,000 square feet and include aquatics, basketball court (multiple courts with multi-purpose use) running track, weight rooms, cardio, commercial kitchen for concessions, offices and other program spaces to be deter-mined.”

A Tribal member who was born in Browning, Gervais earned his architectural degree from Montana State University-Bozeman. He has around 30 years of professional experience in his field and is working with the Tribal Council to firm up plans for the projects.

Finding a place to put the new health and wellness center is the main issue at present. It needs to be accessible yet with enough room to house wanted features and programs.

“That’s the big question we’re waiting on because it will affect the overall design,” Gervais said.

Under the rubric of “aquatics” are such possibilities as a pool, waterslide and a “lazy river.” The latter has water that circulates, carrying folks on inner tubes around at a leisurely pace. A group of Tribal Council members has toured such facilities to get an idea as to what might be possible.

“The thing is it depends on funding as to how many things we can include and what those things will be, but the Councilmen were really pleased with these three ideas,” Gervais said. “We’re also looking at exterior features for the summer, like a fountain. The goal is to have a place for people of all ages, from babies to elders.”

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