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Tulalip tribal government's new home comes together

75,000-square-foot administration building to open this summer

  • The new Tulalip Administration Building will house more than two dozen departments now scattered throughout the reservation.

    Elizabeth Armstrong / The Herald

    The new Tulalip Administration Building will house more than two dozen departments now scattered throughout the reservation.

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By Krista J. Kapralos
Herald Writer
Published:
  • The new Tulalip Administration Building will house more than two dozen departments now scattered throughout the reservation.

    Elizabeth Armstrong / The Herald

    The new Tulalip Administration Building will house more than two dozen departments now scattered throughout the reservation.

TULALIP -- A building boom on the Tulalip Indian Reservation has resulted in a new gem: a $28 million tribal government building scheduled to open early this summer.
Although the Tulalip Tribes unveiled a luxury hotel last year and are now building a tribal museum and cultural center, a new tribal headquarters will likely have unmatched relevancy for tribal members.
It will be the nexus of their sovereign government and a symbol of how successful the confederation of tribes has become.
Leaders and employees of the 3,500-member tribal confederation plan to leave their current headquarters, a small 1970s-style building on the edge of Tulalip Bay, for a gleaming new 75,000-square-foot government center.
The cedar-and-glass building marks a new era for the Tulalip Tribes, which has always operated its government practically within arm's reach of the water.
In the new building, tribal leaders will make decisions from a hill that overlooks the bay and Tulalip Marina, where tribal fishermen continue to practice their traditional way of life.
Construction on the new tribal headquarters began more than a year ago.
Winter storms slowed work, but the building could be finished as early as June, said Brad Green, construction coordinator for the tribes.
The three-level building has glass walls on either side, so visitors can see through the building to the west, to Tulalip Bay; to the east, to a thick cedar forest. The end portions of the rectangular building are ensconced in cedar.
Geothermal energy heats the building through 96 wells drilled 300 feet deep around the building, Green said.
"It's a bit of a cost up front, but geothermal energy makes sense in the long run," Green said.
Energy isn't the only savings the building provides. More than two dozen tribal departments, currently scattered throughout the reservation, some housed in office trailers and other mobile units, will be together under one roof for the first time in the tribes' history. That will save about $1 million each year, tribal spokeswoman Mytyl Hernandez said.
Outside, a concrete walkway imprinted with a cedar bough design leads through the parking lot to the building. There will be covered benches set between vine maple trees and native vegetation, including blueberry bushes and strawberry plants.
A memorial dedicated to the tribes' veterans is also planned. The memorial will be 8,500 square feet, with landscaping and granite slabs to honor tribal members who served in the military.
Tribal leaders initially planned for a 2,000-seat gathering space for tribal meetings, but that's on hold because of the nation's current financial crisis, Hernandez said.
The new building is just east of Marine Drive, near 64th Street NW.
Tribal crews are waiting for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will allow them to realign an intersection from Marine Drive, add a four-way traffic signal and extend 64th Street NW to lead to the building, Green said.

Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422, kkapralos@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » TulalipConstruction & PropertyEmployees

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