Grand opening flag raising

Seneca Celebrates Second $23 Million Community Center/Sports Complex Opening

Gale Courey Toensing
5/2/11

New Center Dedicated to Supporting Healthier Lifestyles and Fitness


CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY, Irving, NY- - On the first Saturday of April, Seneca Nation citizens flocked to the grand opening of their  new state-of-the-art $23 million community center on the nation’s Alleghany Territory. On the last Saturday of the month, they did a repeat performance, this time attending a ceremony to open a state-of-the-art $23 million community center and sports complex on the nation’s Cattaraugus Territory.

Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter, Treasurer Brad John, Seneca Nation councilors and the nation’s Capital Improvements Authority presided over a ribbon cutting and flag raising ceremony to commemorate the opening of the facility, which features an indoor lacrosse arena that seats 1,000 people, gyms, workout facilities and an indoor competition-sized swimming pool.

“In one month the Seneca Nation has opened not one, but two truly awesome community centers for the benefit, wellness and physical fitness of our people,” Porter said. “I hope our Nation’s citizens feel as I do today—a little blessed and privileged to be Seneca, to live on our territories in a time of relative good fortune, when our Nation is able to provide many more benefits, beautiful facilities and a quality of life that many other tribes throughout Indian Country are unable to give their members. We are truly fortunate. I hope that we can all appreciate how far the Seneca Nation has come and that we rededicate ourselves each and every day to the hard work it takes to continue to push the Nation forward and keep the next Seven Generations of Seneca strong and thriving.”

The opening days was filled with family-oriented activities including a shuffle board tournament, exhibition lacrosse games, basketball and volleyball games, a karate demonstration; vendors and information booths, a children’s bounce house and a community lunch.

“The opening of this facility is yet another indication of the level of growth and development occurring at the Seneca Nation,” said Seneca Nation Treasurer Brad John said.  “I am so proud to be a part of this moment in time for the Nation as we promote healthy activities, sports and lifestyles, and give young and old alike opportunities for growing strong and coming together in fun and meaningful ways. I look forward to being a part of future Seneca Nation initiatives and programs that utilize our community center to promote our social, intellectual, spiritual and physical well-being.”

Construction on both centers began two-and-a-half years ago at the at the beginning of what turned out to be one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, but the nation continued the projects since “it was a priority to deliver signature buildings such as the community centers to the Nation,” Porter said.

The nation’s Capital Improvements Authority has almost a dozen projects underway, which once completed will have injected more than $180 million into the local economy and created hundreds of jobs.

The Allegany and Cattaraugus Community Centers were built on schedule at a cost of approximately $23 million each. Both community centers are “green” buildings that will be Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified. The design team used recycled materials, regional building products and ultra-high efficient equipment to construct the facilities. The Alleghany Community Center is located on the site of the former Seneca Nation government complex.

The 93,000-square-foot facility was constructed in collaboration with the Seneca Nation leadership, Capital Improvements Authority, Seneca Construction Management Corporation, and KTH Architects. The design was developed by using community surveys and meetings to determine the interior programming. The centers on both territories will feature similar programming:
•    Capacity to serve more than 3,000 people.
•    Entryway is a community gathering place, with large screen TVS, soft seating and free Wi-Fi.
•    Indoor, competition-sized swimming pool with zero-depth entry for easy access.
•    Therapy pools.
•    Double wood-floor gymnasium that separates into two full-size gyms.
•    Elevated walking track overlooks the gym and has two walls full of windows.
•    Brightly lit lacrosse arena has tiered seating for more than 1000 people; larger than the Allegany indoor arena.
•    Luxury box seats with coffee bar designated as “elder seating,” in the arena, with high-end finishes and movie-theater seats.
•    Commercial concession areas, with kitchens.
•    Multipurpose rooms in each facility with commercial kitchens. Rooms may divide into two rooms so more than one group can utilize the room at a time.
•    Fully equipped state of the art fitness rooms with cardio and weightlifting equipment.
•    Small studio for dance, yoga, or spinning classes.
•     Colorful room designated for youth recreation.

Todd Gates, Seneca Nation Councilor and owner’s representative for the CIA was involved with the building of both facilities from the start. Gates gave an emphatic welcome to the Seneca citizens and guests attending the opening event and invited everyone in the community to enjoy the new community center. “In large part, it is with the proceeds from the casino that we were able to build this tremendous facility. This demonstrates a true healthy benefit for the entire community that will carry on into the future,” said Gates.

KTH Architects from Dubois, PA designed both buildings, under the leadership of Sr. Project Manager Darryl John of the Capital Improvements Authority, which supervised the design and construction of the project. The facilities’ designs integrate Seneca culture throughout by using the eight Seneca Clans and other features. The curving walls emulate the Allegany territory’s rolling hills.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page