MOLD FORCES LEGISLATORS OUT OF COUNCIL HOUSE
The Cherokee Nation’s legislative branch has been temporarily relocated to the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex following the July 17 discovery of several mold species in the Council House.
According to a memo from Elkins to Tribal Councilors, mold levels found in the building were not exceedingly high for rooms with inordinately high levels of moisture. The memo also states that the Council House’s structural integrity is compromised to where water simply pours into most of the rooms and into several areas above the dropped ceiling as well as the wall cavities, contributing to mold growth.
The councilors and their staff have been moved to the former Attorney General’s Office indefinitely until tribal officials decide what to do about the Council House.
“I think facilities will have to determine if it’s a salvageable building, and I don’t think that determination has been made yet,” Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.
When asked if there would be a problem with the legislative and executive branches sharing the same building, Hoskin said he was confident that each branch could temporarily share the same building.
“I think that even though we are in the same building we will have separate work areas, a separate place to store our files, a separate place to meet,” he said. “We will have access to the facility and to our files just as we would at the Council House. Ideally in the long run, in my view at least, we’ll have a separate facility, separate from the executive branch. But for the time being, I’m confident that we can maintain our separate nature and yet still share the same larger building.”
The Cherokee Phoenix attempted to learn the building’s age but was unsuccessful. However, CN translator specialist Durbin Feeling and Career Services Executive Director Diane Kelley said the Council House was originally built as a Cherokee language/cultural resource center in the late 1960s or early 1970s.