FORT TOTTEN, North Dakota. – After 210 days of construction, a dedication and grand opening gathering was held for the new Spirit Lake Elderly Center. Chairman Roger Yankton engaged members of Spirit Lake Nation and welcomed Senator Byron Dorgan and Jasper Schneider, North Dakota USDA, back to the reservation for a day of celebration.
During the dedication ceremony, the facility was renamed the Norma Lambert Rainbow Memorial Home, after a Spirit Lake tribal member who championed this facility from the start. “Norma is here in spirit and is happy to see you all here”, stated Pauline Greywater, long-time friend of Norma’s. Greywater’s heart-felt speech recounted Norma’s passion to provide a place for tribal elders to call home. “Dreams really do come true”, stated Senator Dorgan, an instrumental leader in obtaining federal funding for the project.
In planning and designing the 16,000 sf facility, DSGW Architects worked closely with the Spirit Lake Nation and their funding partners, including the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development in North Dakota. “This was a unique project in that the foundations of the facility had been constructed years prior to DSGW coming on board. We had to take an existing site condition, update the plans to reflect current codes and regulations, as well as incorporate USDA standards into the construction documents,” said Michael Laverdure, DSGW Architects Designer and Director of the First American Design Studio. “Updating the design to reflect current elder housing trends was a design challenge, and incorporating community and activity areas were a priority. Therefore, these spaces are the heart of the building. You enter and leave through community spaces.”
Another important part of the overall design of the eighteen single room apartments was the interior selections. Earth tones were used throughout the facility to create a feeling of warmth & home.