LBHC Launches Construction of New Campus

Nov 15th, 2002 | By | Category: 14-2: American Indian Higher Education Consortium 30th Anniversary, Tribal College News

With construction of its Cultural Learning Center, Little Big Horn College has begun Phase I of developing its new campus on the Crow Reservation in Montana. The center, which is part of the national American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) initiative, will host the Crow Studies Program, including a classroom, a storytelling space, and a social meeting area.

Planning for the new campus utilized four cultural consultants who worked closely with graduate architecture students from Montana State University-Bozeman. The buildings will be aligned according to the four landmarks from the original Crow Reservation, according to Dr. David Yarlott, president of the college. The buildings will form a circle, opening to the east for the morning sun, with the administration and archives in the back, as the leaders would be in traditional settings.

The first phase will also include a faculty office and classroom building and later archives, library, and administrative offices. The Crow Tribe has contributed $3 million toward the construction, and the college has also received funding from the Kellogg Foundation and the National Science Foundation. They are now raising money from other sources.

The present facilities are very overcrowded, according to Yarlott. He remembers when the present building was being used as a barn. Animals lived in it; the pipes were broken; the doors were off the hinges. The tribal officials had condemned it and laughed when college representatives said they wanted to use it. He remembers the crew who cleaned up the building, including Janine Pease-Pretty on Top, Avis Yarlott, and himself.

Little Big Horn College was chartered in 1980 by the Crow Tribe and achieved accreditation in 1990. Yarlott attended the college in 1980 and left to continue his education in 1987. When he returned in 1997, he was amazed to see the changes. The court where he had played basketball had been turned into a library, built by the tribal college students. Yarlott earned his doctorate in education and higher education from the University of Montana-Bozeman in 2000. The board hired him as president in July of this year.

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