Project category: New construction (completed April 2005)

Chief administrator: Jill Mayes, Southern Regional Director, (580) 286-2600

Firm: James R. Childers Architect, Inc., (979) 806-0907

Design team: James R. Childers, Architect of Record (James R. Childers Architect, Inc.); Bruce Roberson, Structural Engineer (Foy Consulting & Engineering); MEP, Civil, and Structural Engineer, EDM Consultants; Program Provider, Indian Health Service; Contractor, Flintco; Client, Choctaw Nation Health Clinic

Photography: Shields Marley

Total building area (sq. ft.): 53,353

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $218

Total construction cost (excluding land): $11,631,725

The Choctaw Nation Health Clinic is an excellent example of what is possible when the architect, owner, federal government, and construction management team work together during the design and construction process to complete a facility that projects the presence of a state-of-the-art medical clinic to the local Native American population in southeast Oklahoma.

In 1991, Idabel, Oklahoma, was identified as having a local Native American population, belonging to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, in desperate need of basic healthcare services. In 2004, this need was filled when the Indian Health Services and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma entered into a joint venture to build a modern, state-of-the-art facility in Idabel.

Key challenges in this project included meeting the federal grant requirements, fulfilling the Choctaw Nation’s desire to project a modern image to the community, and to demonstrate the tribe’s commitment to healthcare needs in the 21st century.

For the building’s exterior, the design team selected a combination of brick that reflects the colors of the natural clays found in the area, combined with exposed structural-steel elements on the canopies. Clinical services include family practice, imaging, physical therapy, laboratory, and a diabetes clinic. Also included in the program is an instruction classroom to educate the Native American population on serving proper diets and treating diabetes.

A terrazzo floor and integral base were selected for the public areas to produce a durable, easily maintained floor that would hold up to heavy traffic, yet enable the architect to create free-flowing lines and patterns that reference the Choctaw’s heritage. Designs in the glass partitions required at subwaiting areas—where privacy is critical—were etched with traditional Choctaw Nation patterns familiar to the local Indian population. Natural light floods the main waiting areas through a structural window-wall system. Light is also brought into the main corridor through open light wells.

Every aspect, from site design to building detail, represents what can be achieved when the architect, owner, federal government, and construction management team communicate and work to meet the key challenges of project delivery and cost.