The interpretive centre at the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung mounds near Stratton is undergoing a metamorphosis these days as “phase two” of the building project is well underway.
Rainy River First Nations Chief Jim Leonard said a gift shop, restaurant, and archaeological lab are going up on the site as a part of the latest development.
Much of the concrete for the new building, which is just slightly smaller than the original interpretive centre, already has been poured.
The proposed completion date is March 31 but Chief Leonard noted the contractors have run into a few setbacks.
“We’re having problems getting the steel," he said, noting they ordered the shipment in November. "We’re still hoping [the building] will be done by the end of March.”
Although the interpretive centre at the mounds officially opened last summer, Chief Leonard said the band has been trying to maintain a low profile with the area until more of the site work was completed.
“The reason we’ve not had signs up is because we’re not ready for the public yet," he noted. ”We’re designing our exhibits now. Hopefully we’ll something there by the fish fry [May 15].
“[And] hopefully a majority of them by the fall," he added. "By the fall, people will have a good idea what will be there.”
Meanwhile, plans already are in motion to promote and market the mounds. But one item that needs to be addressed before major advertising and signs go up is the upgrade of the road leading into them.
“We’re hoping to get it paved but paving can be very expensive," Chief Leonard said. "We may just get a surface treatment done to the road.”
Once the road is in place, work can continue on the museum aspect of the centre.
Even though much of the exhibits should be in the centre by this fall, Chief Leonard said it still will take three or four years to get all the specifics down.
“It’s a long process,” he remarked.