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Absentee Shawnee Health Facility to Replace 'Little Bitty Clinic'

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The Absentee Shawnee Tribe, along with the Indian Health Service, is building an expansive $26 million health clinic near Little Axe, Oklahoma to serve members of federally recognized tribes—and eventually perhaps non-tribal people, reported The Oklahoman. The 76,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in March 2012, and is financed in part by a Bureau of Indian Affairs-guaranteed loan.

“The need for this is tremendous,” Tim Tall Chief, the executive director of Absentee Shawnee health services, told The Oklahoman. Currently, tribal members seeks health care at a "little bitty clinic," Tall Chief said, or they drive to Shawnee.

Indian-owned architectural firm James R. Childers Architect, Inc., of Fort Smith, Arkansas is creating the building's sleek features: natural stone, brick and glass with landscaping that will incorporate native grasses and trees.

The clinic will include 24 medical examination rooms, 16 dental chairs, a physical therapy department, a behavioral science division, a diabetic wellness unit, optometrists, a full pharmacy and a fitness center.

A second phase of development could enlarge the facility to 98,000-square feet; a third phase would add an assisted living center and a senior center.