Native American Center

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The Native American Center Completed


The Native American Center is nearing completion. The contractors are working on final details and fine tuning the building. The last piece we are waiting for are the handrails for the main curved stair. The remainder of the landscaping will be installed in the spring and an opening ceremony will take place around graduation. The NAC is the first LEED registered project on campus. Some of the highlights of the green building strategies implemented are listed below:

  • The building was designed to minimize impact to the site, configured to sit between a row of linden trees to the west and a grove of trees to the east.
  • A larch tree that was removed was salvaged, milled and reused as flooring for the gathering space.
  • Gabion boxes filled with rock reclaimed from the site.
  • Sunken Logs salvaged from the Bonner Mill are reused as interior columns.
  • Locally sourced sustainably harvested wood products used for flooring, ceiling, trim, and casing.
  • Parallel Strand Lumber is used for columns and beams. PSL’s use smaller diameter lumber, are efficient to install, achieve higher strength and consistency and yield less construction waste.
  • The building envelope is constructed of SIPS panels; 2 layers of oriented strand board; an engineered product layering strands/flakes that are then compressed and bonded together with wax and resin, and a thick layer of insulation (6-1/4” walls, 12-1/4” roof). The panels are manufactured off site, cut to size at the factory and are shipped to the jobsite for efficient assembly yielding minimal waste.
  • Bike storage and shower/changing rooms are provided exceeding quantity and distance requirements: 15 bike spaces required, 18 provided, 2 Showers are provided within 105 yds of the entrance, 1 is required within 200 yds.
  • Open space requirements are met at 200%, the open space yielded is twice the square footage of the building.
  • No new parking was added and a campus wide policy evolved to provide low-emission  & fuel efficient vehicle owners with a parking discount.
  • 100% of site hardscape elements have been paved with materials that are highly reflective with an SRI of 27+ exceeding the requirement by 50%.
  • 100% of the roofing (low slope-TPO and high slope-Metal) has a higher SRI than required: TPO=94<78 required, Mtl=61<29 required; exceeding the minimum requirement by 25%.
  • Interior and exterior light fixtures were selected and located to minimize lighting power densities and light trespass outside the project site.
  • 100% of individuals have access to lighting controls (exceeding minimum of 90%) and all shared spaces have access to adjustability of lighting controls.
  • 62% of occupants have access to comfort controls (exceeding the minimum of 50%) and multi-occupant spaces have access to adjustments.
  • Spaces were designed with access to daylighting and views.  On the main level, all but conference room 103 are directly daylit; on the second level all spaces have daylighting.
  • 85% of construction waste will be diverted from the landfill.
  • Low VOC adhesives, glues, paints, and coatings were used throughout the project.
  • Potable water consumption for irrigation was reduced by 80.3% exceeding the requirement by 30.3%.
  • Native and drought tolerant plantings were selected that will not require a permanent irrigation system after establishment.
  • High efficiency fixtures and dry fixtures were specified reducing building sewage conveyance by 40.5%.
  • 26.4% less water will be used than the water use baseline for the building with the use of low flow toilets, waterless urinals, faucets, showers and kitchen sinks.
  • Ground water cooling is used to cool the building. Cool water is pumped from the aquifer at 48-50 degrees from dedicated supply wells into a heat exchanger. The water exchanges cool temperature with the water that serves the HVAC equipment in the building. The well water is then injected back into the acquifer.
  • Heat gain is reduced with the use of solar sunshades, high performance solar control solarban glass, and kalwall-a highly insulating, diffuse-light transmitting system.
  • Housekeeping entry mats are installed at both entries to reduce dust tracked through the building.
  • High efficency filters are installed at the air handling units to ensure ducts stay dust free.

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Gathering Circle

The gathering circle floor, with the layout of the wood planks, the patterned colorful stain, and the bordering curved wood stair, is a beautiful feature of the Native American Center Building. Approximately 50% of the flooring was milled from the larch tree originally on site. The remaining flooring was provided by Northslope from sustainably grown forests. To see more about that process click on the following link:

The floor pattern is based on a blackfeet warshirt medallion. The floor was stained using Timber Soy Natural Wood Stain made from soybean oils; 100% solids, bio-based zero VOC colorant pigments that are the most colorfast in the industry. Cross Flooring LLC of Missoula installed and stained the floor. A similar pattern is found opposite the gathering space where the corridors leading to the gathering space converge. Here it is etched and stained onto the concrete. To see pcitures of the layout, installation and staining process click here:

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Parfleche Designs

Representing each of the twelve tribes in Montana, the parfleche patterns are engraved and stained, one per column bay, on the concrete floor surrounding the gathering space.  Signage will be installed on the beams between the columns, naming the tribe the pattern represents.

Made and used by the Plains and Plateau Indians, parfleches (from the French parer flèches, “to deflect arrows”) were rawhide cases for storing and transporting clothing, tools, and valuables. Parfleches were typically made of buffalo hide that was cut, folded, and painted with a bold geometric design distinctive to the tribe. Colors, made from aniline dyes or traded paints, were typically blue, red, yellow, green, and black.

Click on the following link for more photos:


January 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Construction Fencing at the Oval – Coming down

The construction fencing at the Oval will be removed on Wednesday, December 16, 2009. The landscaping is substantially completed, the sod is dormant, and the space is no longer required for storage or layout. The focus is on the interior of the building. The Oval will be an Oval again!

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interior Finishes

The interior finishes at the Native American Center are going in fast. The larch flooring in the gathering center circle is going down. The circle is divided into 12 pie shapes representative of the twelve tribes and aligning with the twelve bays of the rotunda. The wood flooring will be stained with colors and a  pattern based on a blackfeet warshirt medallion.

The concrete floor staining and handpainting has begun. Local artisan Craig Munson of CMC Concrete is bringing the concrete to life. The corridor edge patterns upstairs and downstairs, the field color, and the parfleche designs are filling in with rich, vibrant colors. There will be one parfleche design per bay around the rotunda to create a complete circle. The building entry occupies the bay to the east, at this location the parfleche design will align with the others in plan but will be located above the entry on the second level.

Walls have been painted in warm, glowing colors. Dakota Burl raised panels have been installed on the corridor walls. Dakota Burl is a panel board made from used sunflower seed husks, a rapidly renewable resource. These panels will serve as a nice consistent background for presentation material and signage.

Lighting and acoustical ceiling tiles are in. The ceiling tiles and grid system both have recycled content.

The stairwells have treads and landings made from terrazzo tile.

Bathroom wall tile is based on beadwork patterns with different patterns upstairs and downstairs.

Click on the following link to see images of the interior finishes:

December 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Native American Center in the News

KPAX ran a story on The Native American Center on Sunday evening. The piece focused on the significant cultural design elements of the building . The design architect Daniel Glenn was interviewed along with Linda Juneau, the University’s tribal liason.

Click the following link for the video:

November 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Construction Progress Update

Landscaping is underway at the Native Amercan Center site. The Storytelling area is taking shape at the East side of the building. The seven planting rings, representing the seven reservations in Montana, are laid out. Sod is back on the Oval quadrant and the Northen Maples, lining the edge of the Oval path, are in place. The gabion boxes, filled with rocks from the site and retaining the earth around the window wells, are complete. Crushed gravel pathways are forming and the remaining concrete sidewalks will be poured in the next few weeks. The drill rig is gone as the testing for the supply well for the ground water cooling system is complete.

On the interior of the building, the walls are painted in rich earthy colors. Kitchen cabinets are being installed. The beautiful tile wainscot patterns  in the men’s and womens’ bathrooms are ready for grout. The Dakota Burl panels are going up in the hallways. The intricate parfleche patterns will be etched into the gathering space concrete floor next week. Lights, trim, and ceiling tile are scheduled to arrive on site in the next few weeks.

Click on the link to see progress photos:

November 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Larch Tree Milling

On Wednesday, October 27th, we visited Burnich Frame and Moulding in East Missoula and watched the Larch planks milled into tongue and groove flooring for the gathering space. Approximately 50% of the flooring was provided by the Larch Tree. The remainder will be supplied by North Slope Sustainable Wood from small diameter Western Larch trees harvested from Sawmill Gulch. See their website for additional information on forest restoration:

Click the following link for the process to date:

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Construction Progress Update

Construction is progressing at the Native American Center Site. Topsoil, branches and trailers have been removed from the site to allow for grading, irrigation and sod replacement on the oval quadrant. The entry arbor piers and wall is in place, the psl trellis and benches are to follow. The glazing is in with transclucent kalwall providing shade and adding texture to the buiding facade. The red metal roof is complete. The masonry, exterior window shades, and inscribed precast panels are in place. On the interior, drywall and office windows/doors are underway. In the rotunda, the curved wooden stair wraps around the space to the second floor. Drywall soffits are in place ready to border dropped ceiling tracks and panels. The building is closed in and finishes are underway.


Click on this link for the latest photos of the NAC Site:

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Rotunda Ceiling

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


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