The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is transforming the former Black Hills Natural Gas building into a pharmacy and clinic offering dental, medical and mental health services, reported the Lincoln Journal-Star.
The Tribe purchased the natural gas building early this year for upwards of $4 million, and now it is spending nearly that much again on the large renovation project — fast-tracked to open by the end of 2020 to provide increased access to healthcare services for Ponca and other Tribal members, under its existing contract with the Indian Health Service.
“The health care needs of people are only going up,” said Ponca Tribal Chairman Larry Wright Jr. “We want to make sure we’re providing a first-class opportunity.”
The Tribe, with a scattered land base across Nebraska, operates primary care clinics in Norfolk and Omaha, where a massive expansion is also underway, slated for groundbreaking in early 2021. Now residents of Lincoln and nearby communities will have access to a variety of healthcare needs locally.
“Our vision for this is a one-stop shop for our people,” Wright said. “If they have other programs — education, social services, housing needs — and they also have an appointment with the dentist, they can make an appointment to serve all the needs they have.”
Seven Generations Architecture and Engineering, LLC, partnered with Farris Engineering and Hausmann Construction Inc. on the Lincoln project, which will embrace a holistic and culturally sensitive approach. For instance, behavioral health care will blend conventional counseling with traditional Ponca healing, such as a sweat lodge or talking circle, reported the Lincoln Journal-Star.
Seven Generations is an 8(a) firm under Mno-Bmadsen, which is the non-gaming investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Seven Generations A+E is renowned throughout Indian Country for interweaving cultural elements in healthcare design.