By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Almost a year ago, leaders and officials of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians put gold-painted shovels into the dirt and broke ground on the Snowbird Residential Treatment Center. Located at the top of a hill several miles from a main road in the Snowbird Community, the Center is the site of hope for many struggling with substance addictions.
The 20-bed facility, being built by Robins & Morton, includes a main building lodge of 11,322 square feet and two 4,224 square foot cottages – one for men and one for women.
“The structures for all three buildings have been completed,” said Brian Hale, Robins & Morton senior project manager. “Roofing is complete for the Lodge, which has allowed key interior mechanical, electrical, and plumbing rough-in activities to commence. Roofing has started on Cottage B, which will allow interior activities to follow.”
Hale added, “The underground utilities are installed within the road and on the site, with retaining walls and asphalt remaining.”
To date, the project is on-time with an early November completion date. “Overall, the buildings are on budget,” Hale noted. “However, there are some scope additions being implemented on the road that are being done to improve the overall infrastructure system.”
In speaking of work to be completed, Hale said, “For the road and site, retaining walls and asphalt paving are remaining, as well as installing the water pumps, tank and septic system, although the underground utilities, such as the water line, are complete. For both the Lodge and Cottages, all finish trades are remaining, as well as windows and skins…for the Cottages, roofing and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing rough-ins remain.”
Overall, Hale said the construction process has been smooth. “As with any construction project, things don’t always go as planned, but there’s been no snags that have jeopardized a successful completion of the project. The biggest challenge was completing the concrete foundation during the winter months.”
At last July’s ground-breaking ceremony, Doug Trantham, Cherokee Indian Hospital Behavioral Health Department manager, said of the facility, “This program is going to be a tremendous benefit to the Cherokee community and provide some very important services to some very important members of our community. It will help provide the help that they need. I do believe that this is not just going to be a good program but a model program. I think that it’s going to be nationally-known for what it does and something that the Cherokee can be very proud of in years to come.”
Kristi Case, Analenisgi Behavorial Health recovery services manager, said it is the plan to have staff in place by the time the facility is completed in November. “We will begin a hiring push in mid-July, with the intention to hire all needed staff by mid-September. We will do a lot of training in the fall, preparing for our December program opening.”
Lynne Harlan, Cherokee Indian Hospital public relations, noted that some hiring is taking place now including a job opening for the Residential Treatment Center manager.