“Native American Connections and Phoenix Indian Center are great partners to have in this project,” said Councilwoman Laura Pastor, whose district includes the site. “They will be able to tell the story of the buildings while creating a renewed space for our community to gather.”Initial funding for this project came from LISC Phoenix as well as a matching grant of $250,000 from The Caterpillar Foundation for the commercial kitchen equipment. JP Morgan Chase Bank also provided early funding for the preliminary design by ART, the Architectural Resource Team.Construction is expected to take eight to ten months with the center opening Spring of 2017. “Phoenix Indian School played an important role in the history of our city, our state and our nation, so we must do all we can to preserve that legacy,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Restoring the music building will ensure that the story of Phoenix Indian School and its students will continue to resonate with new generations while providing a valuable community asset at one of our busiest city parks.”Prior to becoming Steele Indian School Park, the land was the home to the Phoenix Indian School which was established in 1891. For nearly 100 years the government run boarding school housed and educated thousands of Native American children. The U.S. government operated dozens of these types of schools across the country. When Phoenix Indian School closed in 1990, the majority of the land was transferred to the COP. Three buildings were saved and placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the music building is one of them.“This is a one of a kind project in the county,” says Diana Yazzie Devine, CEO of Native American Connections. “By restoring the elementary school we are going to be able to bring the public back into the space and educate and enlighten the community about the Native American boarding school experience and how it impacted Phoenix, as well as the state of Arizona.”The building is approximately 6,000 sq. ft. and was built in 1931.Architectural plans include a gallery to share the history of the Phoenix Indian School, a conference room which will seat 120 people and a commercial kitchen and classroom to be used for indigenous foods preparation as well as health and nutrition courses. A board room and a business center are also included in the plans. Construction to restore the former elementary school and music building at Steele Indian School Park, on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Indian School Road, is set to begin immediately. The City of Phoenix (COP), which owns the building, is funding the project and has a signed Letter of Understanding with the partners, Native American Connections (NAC) and the Phoenix Indian Center (PIC) who led this effort and will operate the new site.