Mille Lacs Band opens new early education building
ONAMIA — The Mille Lacs Band will host a grand opening at 2:30 p.m. Friday for its new Wewinabi Early Education Center, which opened for classes on Sept. 4 adjacent to the District I Community Center, 43648 Virgo Road, Onamia, which is east of Highway 169 across from the Grand Casino Mille Lacs.
The new building reflects the growing demand for the band’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs, which integrate Ojibwe language and cultural instruction into the standard curriculum. The 47,600-square-foot building has 17 classrooms, a gymnasium, a cultural room, large motor play areas, spaces to serve family needs and integrated storm shelters.
The Wewinabi Early Education Center incorporates several cutting-edge green features that make the building more energy-efficient, including a geothermal heating and cooling system, wind turbines, natural lighting, storm water treatment ponds and rain gardens.
Tammy Wickstrom, Mille Lacs Band early education director; Mike Moilanen, director of project management for the band’s Community Development Department; and Peter Nayquonabe, Mille Lacs Band commissioner of administration, plan to be on hand.