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Chickasaw Nation Health Clinic in Tishomingo, Okla

The design of the new Chickasaw Nation Health Clinic in Tishomingo, Okla., reflects the history and heritage of the Native American tribe. The facility features approximately 5,300 square feet of Holland, Mich.-based Dri-Design's 0.030-inch aluminum Tapered Series panels in Charcoal. A variety of materials and finishes were selected for the project and detailed to represent the textures and patterns of the rich culture and traditions of the Chickasaw people.

According to Breck Childers, project architect with James R. Childers Architect Inc., Fort Smith, Ark.: "This was a high-design project and the challenge was to bring it in on schedule and on budget. We were trying to find materials that would best represent the natural elements that were integral to the design."

The Dri-Design panels installed at the center of the clinic and at the stair towers flanking both ends of the building emulate the texture and color of the Chickasaw native blackberry, which has played a notable role in the tribe's history.

As Childers notes: "We thought the looks and the design flexibility of the Tapered Series panels would best allow us to create the representative image of the classic Chickasaw Nation blackberry. The folks at Dri-Design provided a panel grid that we carefully marked up to create the 'blackberry pattern' by specifying the exact direction in which each panel would taper and to what degree. The panels really produced the desired effect." The focal point of the building is the main entrance atrium. In addition to the Dri-Design panels, the form and material selection is inspired by the sun representing life and revitalization of the soul, as well as the Chickasaw shield representing the strength of the Chickasaw Nation.

Features of the new clinic include 21 examination rooms, 12 dental chairs, pharmacy services, diagnostic laboratories, eye care, audiology and comprehensive community health and behavioral health services. The facility strives to meet the comprehensive health care needs of the Native American population in the southeastern region of Chickasaw Nation. The new 53,000-square-foot clinic is four times larger than the original clinic, which opened more than 40 years ago.

The project was built utilizing a unique joint venture partnership with Indian Health Services. Under the Federal program, the Chickasaw Nation funds construction of the clinic and Indian Health Services offers additional funds for staffing and operation for 20 years. Flintco, Tulsa, Okla., was the general contractor. Installation of the Dri-Design panels was performed by NOW Specialties, Carrollton, Texas.