Center celebrates the Chickasaw connection to one of Oklahoma’s most beautiful areas.
Nestled into the base of Oklahoma’s Arbuckle Mountains lies one of America’s oldest national parks, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Famed for its healing springs, waterfalls and scenic beauty, the spot has a special place in the heart of the Chickasaw Nation, and it stands today as the only national park ever created at the request of an Indian tribe.
Now that tribal connection has been strengthened and enhanced through construction of a new Visitor Center. FSB’s longstanding relationship with the Chickasaws allowed our team to work seamlessly with the tribe to create this unique facility, which sits at the gateway to the park and serves as both a welcome center for the entire area and administration building for the National Park Service. Intended to attract and educate visitors about tribal history, local attractions and the park in general, the design incorporates numerous elements celebrating the Chickasaws’ achievements and influence in the Sulphur area and across Oklahoma.
The center’s two-story split-level design accommodates the sloping site and adds to the dynamic character of the exterior. It features a striking combination of native stone, copper and glass, which complements other Chickasaw Nation and National Park Service buildings in the area.
The center’s interior contains a multi-purpose gallery and an orientation theater, along with reception, meeting and lobby space, a local vacation planning area with individual computerized kiosks, a bookstore/gift shop, an information desk and administrative offices. The tribe will share first-floor office space with National Park Service staff members, who are charged with overseeing the recreation area. Natural slate flooring and rich wood ceilings are accented with Native American art and sculpture throughout.
In keeping with Chickasaw Nation and National Park Service requirements, LEED Gold sustainability features were incorporated into the building design to reduce its energy usage and enhance operational efficiency.