Cochiti Senior Center

Pueblo de Cochiti is a small community with a relatively large contingency of senior citizens with varying needs.  The Pueblo desperately needed a Center that could provide daily meals, produce meals for home bound clients, provide activity space during the day, and provide day care services for less able-bodied seniors.  The need for a new Center was so pressing that the Tribal Council elected to forgo the development of 4 new homes under an existing grant to help pay for the new Center.  This giant contribution would still not be enough.

Mr. Hickman seeing their need, provided grant writing assistance to secure the additional funds needed.  A Community Development Block Grant application was submitted and was successful.  Together with the funds saved in the housing development project, the Block Grant and Tribal contributions, the facility was allotted an $800,000 budget.

The Center was designed to meet State of New Mexico licensing requirements for elderly centers.  As such, it not only provided activity space, but a bedroom to be used in case of need during the day.  The kitchen was designed to be efficient in space and to provide adequate work areas for a single cook and a helper.  The activity spaces included a large living room, a dining room, craft rooms, a recreation room, a small chapel and a storytelling room where the elders and children could be together without disrupting other activities.  The center was designed to be comfortable to the seniors, express a love and appreciation for them, and to reflect past traditions of the Pueblo. 

To account for the modest budget, the building interior finishes were selected based on overall impact.  Fine crafted custom wood doors and wood trim throughout the facility was important because these elements would be touched and handled all throughout the day.  The high cost of these elements was offset by using high quality residential aluminum windows and instead of using costly ceramic tile, the flooring was finished with vinyl composite tile and commercial grade carpet in rich earthen colors.  The result was an installation which was reasonably in cost but rich in appeal.  From the project’s $800,000 budget, over $150,000 was saved during construction and was used to furnish the Center. 

Mr. Hickman’s involvement in this facility did not end with its completion.  He still periodically reviews the building with the Owner.  In this way he can see not only how well things have aged, but what could have been done differently.  These are valuable insights.  The Center’s Owner is currently seeking grant funds to add four more “bedrooms” to the facility to house day care clients.

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