Dilkon Medical Center nears completion
DILKON, Ariz. — Construction of the Dilkon Medical Center is about 95 percent complete and will provide medical and emergency services to thousands of Navajo people in Dilkon and surrounding communities in the southwest part of the Navajo Nation.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Navajo Area IHS Director Roselyn Tso toured the facility April 11 with Winslow Indian Health Center CEO Sally Pete and board member Alberto L. Peshlakai.
The tour included a visit to the ongoing construction of 109 staff quarters and housing units that will be completed by September to house staff and medical personnel.
“This is a wonderful new health care facility that was developed based on the vision of our elders. There were many challenges along the way, but the Dilkon Health Center Steering Committee, led by Chairman Robert Salabye, never gave up and devoted their time and commitment for many years to make this happen — they exemplify the teaching of T’áá Hwó Ají Téego, self-reliance and self-determination,” Nez said. “This project is a great example of what can be accomplished by working together to achieve long-term improvements for our people. This is a large part of Nation building.”
In May 2019, Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer issued a letter to IHS authorizing Winslow Indian Health Care Center, in coordination with the Dilkon Health Care Steering Committee, to complete the design and construction of the new medical center under a Title V construction project agreement. Nez and Lizer joined the community as construction broke ground on the new facility on June 25, 2019.
Over the course of three months, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority carefully filled a 310,000-gallon water tank located next to the facility to deliver more water to meet daily needs. The construction team also encountered setbacks because of global supply chain issues and demand for construction materials that delayed progress.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to all of the great men and women who laid their hands to this great achievement for our Navajo people. Many nearby residents had to travel long distances to receive medical care, even in emergency situations, for many years,” Lizer said. “This new facility will open doors to more economic and community development that will allow the region to create more jobs, revenues, housing, and other opportunities. We commend all of the local leaders, public health officials, and the construction team for making this a great success.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility also includes specially-built isolation rooms that allow patients to be separated from others to lower the risks associated with the virus. Solar panels have been installed on the roof of the facility to lower energy costs. Throughout the center, rooms are designed to maximize the benefits of natural lighting.
Nez thanked local leadership, WIHCC and its board, the Dilkon Steering Committee, Tso and her team and the hard-working construction crews for each of their contributions to the new medical center.
“We look forward to the opening of the facility soon,” Nez said.
Construction is nearly two years ahead of schedule and the community is expected to host a grand opening ceremony for the new 154,000 square-foot facility in July, with medical services opening to patients in August.