Ada — Chickasaw Nation Head Start students, basketball teams, athletes and citizens turned out en masse to help the tribe’s most distinguished officials cut the ribbon on a completely revamped gymnasium Tuesday at tribal headquarters.
The gym complex, which has long served the tribe in a multitude of capacities throughout the years, received a facelift both inside and outside.
“We are celebrating the renewal of (a facility) that has been here quite a while,” Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby told the overflow gathering.
“The structure started out early as a gymnasium but was also a community center. It was also the second location of our Head Start program. We have a variety of things this building has been utilized for,” Anoatubby said, adding with a smile that the tribe hosted an employee Thanksgiving dinner at the site in the tribe’s early years. “That’s when we had a lot fewer employees. I think everybody could fit into the building.”
Today, the tribe’s employees total nearly 13,000.
“It’s a new beginning for this facility, which will be totally dedicated to recreation and athletics,” Anoatubby said.
According to Chickasaw Nation Tribal Development officials, the building’s interior and exterior has new rock which matches the other buildings at the Nation’s primary complex, located at Mississippi and Arlington.
A new roof was added, as well as new landscape design.
The restroom/lockers on the lower level were reconfigured.
Additionally, showers were installed in the locker rooms as well.
An elevated seating concourse was designed on three sides of the basketball court.
Balcony seating was designed overlooking the court. Approximately 229 bench seats with backs, 38 stadium chairs and other seating are now available.
The new seating layout is designed to keep spectators away and off the court to provide safety for athletes and visitors.