The TSP team designed this new community resource to nearly triple the Oyate Teca Project’s space to assist children and families. The new center was developed with Running Strong for American Indian Youth, which was cofounded by Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills―an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The Oyate Ta Kola Ku Center will be home to the nonprofit organization’s administrative, athletic, academic, and recreational programs for children primarily in the 10- to 18-year old age group. The facility also will contain a small residential section to house volunteers who work at the center. A portion of the building will provide the dual function of serving as a tornado shelter. Altogether, the effort will provide the space necessary to expand center programming in ways the much smaller existing facility struggles to accommodate.
The center’s multipurpose space will host community banquets and events, and it also contains a full-size gymnasium for weekly athletic and recreational activities. The classroom wing of the building comprises a sewing room, art room, large classroom, and a rec/game room for various activities. Informal seating throughout the building offers students a variety of places to connect, study, or simply be.
A large foodservice area will be at the heart of the center. A commercial kitchen, community canning area, teaching kitchen, concessions, diner, and restaurant seating areas will support the expansion of the Center’s culinary program and provide greater services for youth and community members. The grounds currently contains a number of gardens, a greenhouse structure, and large hoop buildings in which fresh vegetables are grown and harvested. The new site layout will provide parking areas for food trucks and to host an outdoor farmer’s market. The building also will include a mini-warehouse for seasonal storage, to hold donation items such as clothes and food, event-space equipment or supplies, and other deliveries for the Center.
A blessing ceremony and construction groundbreaking took place in August 2021.