December 07, 2009 –
The PBPN Judicial Center grand opening celebration will proceed on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 regardless of weather.
MAYETTA: The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation will celebrate the grand opening of its new Judicial Center on Tuesday, December 8 at 10 a.m. with an open house, followed by tours of the new building (11444 158 Road, Mayetta).
The tribal membership, general public and news media are invited to attend. We-Ta-Se Color Guard will post colors and the Honorable John Wabaunsee, Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals, will give remarks. In addition, members of the Judicial Council and Tribal Council will be on hand to answer questions. Refreshments will also be served.
“The new Judicial Center will showcase the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation as a tribal government that has taken care of itself,” said Tribal Chair Steve Ortiz. “Since 1993 we have established laws and regulations around a broad range of governmental activities and we are proud of how far we have come.”
The 4,800 square foot building includes the court room, a large jury waiting room, judges’ chambers, administrative offices, and three small conference rooms. In addition, the building also has state-of-the-art equipment including a technologically advanced audio visual system and a geothermal heating and cooling system. The design of the building is in keeping with the woodlands/Potawatomi motif and some furnishings are accented with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation seal.
The construction cost of the Judicial Center was approximately $800,000. All of the funding was provided by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Contractors on the project were Sabatini Architects and MarLan Construction, both of Lawrence.
The new building sits next to the Prairie Band Health Center and the two organizations will share a parking lot located on the Health Center’s east side. The Social Services Department, which is housed in the center’s east wing, is also planning an open house in conjunction with the Judicial Center’s.
The PBPN Tribal Court was established in 1993 through the PBPN Constitution. The court was expanded in 1998 and its administrative offices and court operated in a building located at15498 K Road until now. A judicial administrator is responsible for scheduling all of the court’s activities and supervises a staff of three.
The Judicial Council is comprised of a judge of the District Court, and the justices of the Court of Appeals. Through Constitutional Amendment changes approved by the General Council in 2008, five magistrates of an Employment Disputes Tribunal have been added along with a separate mediating branch called the Peacemakers Circle. A U.S. Department of Justice grant was also awarded last year that is providing funding for a Healing to Wellness Court that was established.