WYANDOTTE — After constructing many walls and rearranging offices over the past 41 years, the Wyandotte Nation will have a new building to call home as the Tribe broke ground Thursday, Sept. 26, on its new administration building.

“It’s a great day, it’s a great day for us, it’s a great day for the Wyandotte Nation, and I just want to say thank you to everyone for coming out and supporting,” said Wyandotte Nation Chief Billy Friend to a crowd of onlookers. “It is something we have dreamed about for a long time, and now it is going to become a reality for us — we are looking forward to it.”

While the Tribe will say goodbye to the old building, which was built and dedicated in 1978, it isn’t going anywhere.

The old administration building will be remodeled and become the new Judicial Building, housing the Wyandotte Nation court system and Wyandotte Nation Tribal Police Department (WNTPD).

Chief Friend said it will be a good move for them as well being just off the highway.

The new administration building, located just south of the Bearskin Healthcare & Wellness Center, will house the offices of the Administration, Family Services and Gaming Commission.

“It was always our goal to eventually get up here on the hill and begin to fill out everything up here as we have been doing,” Chief Friend said. “We have been growing, we’ve been able to do a lot of things. We are very thankful today to be breaking ground on this new building and looking forward to the future.”

Chief Friend related a story to having fewer than 10 employees in the early days of the administration building to having more than 100 tribal government employees today.

“The ultimate goal for us is to improve the quality of life for our tribal citizens and everything that we do is geared toward that,” he said. “It allows us to provide better services, more efficient services, and everything we do is serving the citizens of our tribal nation.”

Chief Friend thanked the board of directors on hand, Juanita McQuistion, Vivian Fink, Ramona Reid and Second Chief Norman Hildebrand.

He also thanked all of the employees on the government side as well as Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma (WTOK), which is the federally-chartered corporation of the tribe and drives economic development.

The project is completely financed using tribal funds and not federal dollars.

“All the money we are using on this is generated by our economic development, so we are appreciative of all the work that WTOK does — our casinos, the Turtle Stops, Wyandotte Precision Products, Wyandotte Technologies and all of our projects we do on that side to help fund this project,” Chief Friend said. “Not having to use any federal dollars, it says a lot about where we are as a tribal nation.”

There is no official timeline for the completion of the project, although construction is set to begin in early November.

Crossland Construction is the general contractor for the project. CGA Architects produced the building concept.