Wyoming School Dedicates Major Space to Native American Culture & Langaugee

A school campus for K-12 classes planned in Fort Washakie, WY will include 4,000 square feet dedicated to Native American cultural programs like language and dance, for the school’s predominantly Native American student body.

Fort Washakie is located at the confluence of the South and North Forks of the Little Wind River and is named for Shoshone Chief Washakie, namesake for the military Fort Washakie. Chief Washakie was known as a great supporter of education, and his policies figured into the first school at Fort Washakie, established as part of the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868 with a first class of 35 students, both Native American and white.

Washakie, Shoshone Chief

Washakie, Shoshone Chief

The two-building complex will serve approximately 800 students.  It is designed by Ward + Blake Architects of Jackson Hole, WY, a firm known and honored for architecture that is sensitive to a site’s environmental, cultural and historical context.  The firm’s principals gathered school and community stakeholders for a three-day charrette with the design team to determine goals and needs for the project.

“We want to bring meaning to the project by recognizing the cultural context of the Eastern Shoshone traditions,” says Ward + Blake Principal Mitch Blake. The team intends to integrate cultural symbols that imbue meaning to the school’s users into the design of the new school building.  A story in the Houston Chronicle reported that the architects and their school-design partners, Fanning/Howey Associates, have submitted preliminary design schematics to local planning authorities and estimate completion in 2016.

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