Indian Center Moved Out of Fort for Games

By and

In the past month, cardboard boxes and moving trucks have been the norm at Fort Douglas.

The American Indian Resource Center and Red Butte Garden and Arboretum’s offices are moving out of Fort Douglas for the Olympics.

Both will return, but only the American Indian Resource Center is returning permanently.

“Everybody knew from the very beginning that they would be terminated by Oct. 31,” said Gary Moore, director of space planning and management for the University of Utah.

Red Butte offices will reside temporarily on the south-east corner of Fort Douglas after the Olympics, Moore said.

Red Butte is trying to raise funds for a building closer to the actual garden, and will stay in Fort Douglas until that project is complete, Moore said.

The resource center has been moved to the Cork Room, located on the fourth floor of the Union.

The resource center connects American Indian students and faculty and provides both a meeting place for interaction and tutoring, said Nola Lodge, director of the center.

The Union will temporarily house the resource center until the Olympics and Paralympics end.

“It’s like going from the penthouse to the third garage,” said Daniel McCool, member of the center’s board. “I think the American-Indian students, faculty and staff understand it’s necessary for the Olympics, but it’s just temporary. It is not a permanent home.”

Although Lodge has known about the move for years, there wasn’t a lot of notice.

“When I first became director, I knew it would have to move [for the Olympics], that was no surprise,” Lodge said. “But I wish I would have known about the exact date sooner.”

The U has yet to determine the permanent location of the center after the Olympics, but it should be somewhere in Fort Douglas.

“The U has not reassured us recently about a permanent location,” McCool said.

About three weeks ago, the Office of Space Planning and Management informed Lodge she would be moving by the end of October. However, she did not know the exact date or where the resource center would be relocated.

Space Planning suggested a few different areas, including the Annex building or the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs.

“I didn’t want to be separated from the rest of the staff, and I didn’t want to move in on CESA, that’s student area,” Lodge said.

The suggestion for the Cork Room was almost dismissed because it was booked for student groups. However, Space Planning put its foot down, and the resource center got the Cork Room, Lodge said.

“Of what was available, the Cork Room was the best place,” said Karen Dace, associate vice president for diversity.

But the move to the Cork Room will affect the resource center’s capabilities, Lodge said.

“We won’t be able to host tribal leaders like we have in the past, we won’t be able to make food or have as many social activities,” she said. The Cork Room, unlike its former home, has no cooking facilities.

Regardless of the limitations the move may impose, Dace feels the U strongly supports the resource center.

“This is the second year of hard funding that comes directly from the president,” she said. “Two years ago, we depended on soft funding, now we don’t have to do that.”

After the Olympics, the resource center will move back to Fort Douglas, but not to the same house.

“I’m real concerned about [not knowing] where we’re going to relocate,” Lodge said.

McCool is also concerned.

“This nation has a long history of making promises to Indians and then unilaterally believing the Indians don’t need what the nation has promised,” McCool said. “This is a great university, and I don’t think the U would do something unethical like that. I’m optimistic that the U will keep its promises.”

“President Bernie Machen has indicated he wants the American Indian Resource Center to have a home in Fort Douglas,” Moore said.

“If the U indeed keeps its promises to the resource center, then it shows dedication to the American Indians on campus,” McCool said.

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