Tribe goes green in construction of new center

by Sharlene Irete

The new stucco and stone building on the corner of Mehu Street and Patdul'negeeh Way in Dresslerville is built on the site of the old community center. The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California celebrated the building's completion with a grand opening party Thursday.

Construction started in January for the new 3,800-square-foot community center, replacing a Quonset hut that served as community center for about 50 years.

"It can be used for whatever the community wants - birthday parties, wedding receptions, meetings," said Raymond Gonzales, executive director of the Washoe Housing Authority.

Gonzales said funding for the center came from HUD, a federal Indian Community Development Block Grant, with a large part made possible through a tribal funding match.

The Dresslerville Community Center was designed by Hannafin Design of Carson City based on the design of the Stewart Community Center built last year in Carson City. The community council made some design changes based on specific needs for the Dresslerville community.

Contractors involved in the construction of the center include Minden Electric, RO Anderson, Nevada Door, Newt Concrete, LA Thomas Stucco, Handy Man Landscape, ABC Fire, Distinctive Rain Gutters and Conway Communications. The Washoe Housing Authority did the interior framing and the exterior stonework.

The building is made of insulated concrete forms, an energy-efficient form of construction, with the highest R-rating given. R-value refers to the measure of insulation's heat loss, with higher ratings given to insulation with the most thermal resistance.

A foundation is in place for the 30-foot wind turbine to be built on the southwest side of the building.

"The 1.3 kilowatt wind turbine will help supplement electrical use in the center," said Gonzales. "The community center will use wind energy and there are solar tubes on the roof.

"The Tribe is trying to reduce energy and costs. They're considering green materials for new construction," he said. "Green is the way to go."

The center's concrete floors are polished in organic hues of sienna, ocher, turquoise, sapphire blue and forest green, with each room featuring a different prominent color. Members of the Dresslerville Community Council picked the colors of the floors to complement the taupe-colored walls.

The center houses a few small conference rooms, two offices, and a large room planned for computers, where students can come after school. The full-service kitchen has a professional six-burner gas range, walk-in refrigerator, pantry and a non-skid epoxy floor. The building is wheelchair accessible with ramps and push-button doors. The whole building may be warmed with the heat from the gas fireplace in the main hall.

A Nevada State Parks grant will allow the construction of a recreational area next to the community center. Grants allowing, future plans involve building a new baseball park, basketball and tennis courts.

Community council members Willie Smokey and Edmund James grew up in Dresslerville and remember attending birthdays, receptions, meetings and having their vaccination shots in the old Quonset community building.

"The new center is a nice deal for folks around here," said Smokey. "They really got things done and under budget so we could afford a permanent fence. It's a beautiful building."

"By the people, for the people," said James.


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