The GRIC District 3 Multipurpose facility is a long-awaited community services hub located in the Government Capital of the Gila River Indian Community Reservation in Sacaton, Arizona. With approximately 50,000 SF of usable space, the building sits on an existing 14-acre site near the original Bureau of Indian Affairs complex that served this tribal community for several decades.
The project emerged from the community’s need to transition its members into the modern way of living while maintaining a strong tie to their roots as they experience rapid growth and an increase in their young population. This rapid growth has affected this community in different ways: The lack of activities for the younger population leaves no options for them but to expose them to undesirable activities, including vandalism, alcohol, and substance abuse. For the elder group, essential services, including daily meals, shower-restrooms, weather refuge, and activity areas, were part of a community program but did not have a means to correctly delivered it.
For this community, there was a more profound concern, the issue of addressing their heritage as Native Americans and assuring the new rapid-growth upcoming generations will be able to find a place of connection to their roots, creating pride in their origins.
The facility design flows around the concept of having community members participate directly and interact with each other, encouraging storytelling, communication, and interaction through activities and learning, a place to learn about mind and body wellness, addressing the cultural values of the Gila River Indian Community.
The building acts as common ground where members of different ages from the Gila River Indian Community come together to share, learn, interact, celebrate life in this world, and prepare for the next.