Project Timeline

Opening 2017


1994 State Agency Created
In September 1994, the creation of the Native American Cultural & Educational Authority, (NACEA) a State agency, by legislation Title 74, Section 1226. The State appointed the NACEA Board of Directors and the design and planning team was selected. Concept development and the site investigation and selection process began.

1999 First Funding Realized
NACEA realizes $5M Capitol Improvement State Bond Issue – the first funding to kick off the planning and design of the project.

2000 Environmental Conditions Assessment
Early clean-up focused on locating and plugging abandoned oil wells, pipelines and the clearing of oilfield rubble in the initial 60-acre construction area of The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum buildings. To date, 13 wells have been plugged to current standards, including 2 undocumented wells located during the remediation. Participating entities:The Oklahoma Energy Resource Board (OERB), the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the City of Oklahoma City assisted with the cleanup.

2005 Groundblessing Ceremony
The site was donated by the City of Oklahoma City to the State of Oklahoma in May, 2005. Prior to starting any site construction work, the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority hosted a “Gathering in the Courtyard of Nations” which brought together tribes, state leadership, community and many others to offer thanksgiving and prayers as a way of culturally nurturing the damaged landscape.

2006 Construction Begins
The initial construction packages were for site clearing, soil re-grading, basement excavation of the gallery building and the beginning of the Promontory Mound earthwork. At the time the construction market experienced the effects of 2005 Hurricane Katrina.

2007 Below Ground & Earthwork
The Duke, ConocoPhillips (DCP) pipeline was relocated off a bridge structure crossing the Oklahoma River. Storm sewer and site utility work commenced and South Gallery 1st floor concrete, basement walls and West passage tunnel foundations were poured. Extensive basement waterproofing and underground plumbing were completed, along with the massive amount of earthwork taking place to shape the rear of the Central Promontory slopes. The Center and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreement.

2008 Visitor Center & Promontory Dedication
Realizing federal funds will likely not be available, in February 2008 the NACEA Board adopts a strategy, to complete the project, affirming that a funding completion plan would require resources from state, city, tribes and private sector. In June 2008, Senate Bill 1374 is approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Henry, authorizing $25M in bond funding. The country begins to experience the longest and deepest U.S. recession since the Great Depression. The Visitor Center and Central Promontory dedication signify the completion of Phase 1 construction.

2009 Soil Grading & Importing
Soil continues to be imported for future use. Soil grading and erosion control measures continue as part of the ongoing construction sequence. A construction completion plan is devised providing a precise road map to completion, but with the provision for non-state matching requirements for any State capital improvement funding. In addition, the plan would provide assurance of continuous construction through completion, to avoid the continuing increased cost of interruption and delay.

2010 East Gate Entry Completion and Hall of the People Steel Erection
Important milestones were met in 2010. The dedication of the East Gate Entry, which is comprised of approximately 100,000 mesquabuck stones from Eastern Oklahoma and represents those who endured and perished on the many journeys to Indian Territory. Completion of 88% of the building exterior was finished with only the Hall of the People awaiting the final glass enclosure. The Oklahoma legislature does not consider the funding plan, thus delaying completion of the project and subjecting it to escalation of costs due to inefficient construction phasing, inflation and extension of warrantees. Senate Bill 1901 was enacted to facilitate commercial development.

2011 Multipurpose Theatre Completion
Exterior walls, waterproofing, metal roof panel and gutter system are completed along with the installation of air handling units, duct-work and sprinkler system. Oklahoma Legislature does not consider the funding plan. Construction and costs are negatively impacted.

2012 Construction Suspended
Centennial Builders and the consultants reviewed and updated drawing sets and prepared bid package documents and corresponding schedule. A 2012 Funding completion plan was presented to the Oklahoma Legislature with $40 million in non-state (including private, city and tribal) to match $40 million in State funds to complete the project. Non-State matching funds were contingent on State funds. Oklahoma Senate does not pass bond issue in support of the Center. Available funds for the continuation of construction are exhausted. Accordingly, the NACEA suspends construction operations demobilizing Centennial Builders personnel and facilities supporting construction activities. Centennial Builders is engaged to continue to provide building/grounds maintenance and site security to preserve the State’s asset.