STILWELL, Okla. — Leaders of the Cherokee Nation and representatives of Dahlonegah Public School gathered Friday, Jan. 26, to celebrate the signing of a land-lease agreement that will allow the school to expand and accommodate more educational needs for generations of students to come.
The Cherokee Nation will lease approximately 17.5 acres of land to Dahlonegah Public School, which aims to acquire federal funds to construct a new educational facility on the land for its upper-grade levels.
The land is adjacent to the school’s current property and will be leased on a 50-year term with an option to renew for another 50-year term. The rental amount for the leased land is $1 per year.
“Today is about much more than just a lease being signed. It’s about a school in a small community with tremendous heart and tremendous aspirations,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “It took all of those aspirations and applied them to pursuing federal funds to expand and build a new facility, which is an exciting thing. That’s a challenge for any school anywhere in the state of Oklahoma. But it’s happening right here at Dahlonegah Public School, and not by accident. It’s happening because of a great deal of planning and preparation by the leaders of this school. We at the Cherokee Nation are thrilled to assist this important initiative by providing Dahlonegah with the land it needs in order to grow.”
Steve Cain, superintendent of Dahlonegah Public School, said the school plans to build a sizeable facility on the leased land to house students in grades 6-8. Currently, the school has one building to accommodate nearly 200 students from pre-kindergarten through grade 8.
“We’re extremely thankful for the Cherokee Nation along with Chief Hoskin and his administration,” Cain said. “This land is going to create opportunities and extend opportunities in academics as well as athletics for students for generations to come. This will also enable us to make major renovations to our current facility that we otherwise would not have been able to make.”
The Council of the Cherokee Nation approved a resolution authorizing the Cherokee Nation to lease tribal trust land to Dahlonegah Public School in December.
The leased land has been owned by the Cherokee Nation since the late 1930s and was previously leased out for agricultural purposes since the 1960s.