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March 21, 2023

Tribal health center to open in Bellingham this spring

A/E Editor

Photo courtesy of KMD [enlarge]
The project is pictured last month.

Crews are wrapping up work on a new health and wellness center for the Lummi Nation, set to open at 2616 Kwina Road in May.

The tribe is developing the $27 million project which KMD has designed and Cornerstone is building. The project broke ground in November 2021.

The 50,000-square-foot center will serve over 5,000 members of the Lummi Nation Tribe in northwestern Washington and is part of the tribe's broader wellness campus which consists of an existing clinic building (which will be repurposed), a fitness center and a care center that treats substance use.

The new Lummi Nation Health and Wellness Center will have a medical and dental clinic, a pharmacy, imaging facilities, a child care center, a behavioral health clinic, a demonstration kitchen, community facilities, and a teaching garden with medicinal and edible plants.

Community facilities include meeting rooms, a cafe, indoor-outdoor fireplace, spaces to tell the history of the Lummi Nation, and a community culture room where members can practice traditional tribal arts.

Rendering by KMD [enlarge]
KMD’s design takes inspiration from indigenous longhouses. This rendering shows the east entry way.

The center has been designed to support the tribal tradition of treating the whole person. Its architecture takes inspiration from indigenous longhouses with a linear central lobby loosely based on those structures. The building also has deep overhangs and large timber columns, at both east and west entries, that evoke longhouse design.

Sustainable features include a green wall, rooftop photovoltaic panels, and a floor runnel that demonstrates the journey of water. The water flowing through the glass covered runnel will feed a water feature in an outdoor seating area before filling a cistern where it is stored for irrigation of the teaching garden.

KMD began designing the project in 2019. When covid hit the tribe asked them to pivot to include a flexible HVAC system in the design that could be used to create zones of negative air pressure. These zones will be used to treat infectious patients while allowing for better protection for staff and non-infectious patients. The HVAC design was modified to create negative pressure zones in two main areas; a section of the medical clinic and of the dental clinic.

The medical clinic's negative pressure area covers two exam/consult rooms, a procedure room, a patient restroom, and an office which can convert to a staff work room and patient check-in area when the negative pressure environment is in effect. The negative pressure zone in the dental clinic covers three operatories, a patient restroom, a staff touchdown/printing station and an administrative office which again could be converted to a staff work area and patient check-in area during negative pressure operations.

Infectious patients will be able to directly access the negative pressure areas via exterior doors. Cross-corridor doors were also added to the design. These will remain open in normal operations but when closed will physically separate the negative pressure zones from the remainder of the medical and dental clinics.

The new facility will be owned by the Lummi Nation and the Lummi Indian Business Council. The project team also includes Akana, civil/site engineer, structural engineer and landscape architect; Sazan Group, MEP, energy modeling, commissioning and sustainability; and Swinerton, construction and cost estimation. CollinsWoerman did an early concept for the project before KMD was hired.

Future plans for the wellness campus include a detox facility, expansion of the fitness center and housing.


Emma Hinchliffe can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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