Kath Williams + Associates Projects

Native American Center (Payne Family)


University of Montana
Mssoula, Montana
LEED Platinum - 2011
LEED NC v2.2
Owner:University of Montana
Missoula, Montana
Builder:Jackson Contractor Group
Missoula, Montana
Architect:Daniel J Glenn Architect
A & E Architects
Civil Engineer:WGM Group
Missoula, Montana
HVAC Engineer:Associated Construction Engineering
Belgrade, Montana
Landscape Architect:Rocking M Design PC
Missoula, Montana
Energy Modeler:Quest Energy Group LLC
Tempe, Arizona
Commissioning Agent:Flow Engineers LLC
Missoula, Montana
LEED AP:A&E Architects
Senior LEED AP:Kath Williams


What is the Native American Center?

  • A bridge between Native American and mainstream cultures.
  • The first facility in the nation built expressly to accommodate a Department of Native American Studies, an American Indian Student Services office, and other related campus programming.
  • An academic center, social and cultural hub, and gathering space.
  • A 19,900 square foot facility which earned the first LEED-Platinum on a Montana university campus.
  • A symbol of goodwill, unity, and intersection.
  • Supported by the generosity of the Payne Family.

Project Narrative Provided by A&E Architects

The UM Native American Center represents a unique and extraordinary opportunity as the first off
-reservation building in the state of Montana that is designed to symbolically represent Native American culture and the first inter-tribal center designed to represent the twelve tribes of Montana. With project goals of LEED gold, the center is the premiere UM project to comply with a new campus wide LEED initiative. 


The university provided an appropriately significant site for the building – in the heart of the campus on one of the last remaining sites surrounding the historic oval. The building was designed to provide a home for the university’s growing Native American Studies Department as well as Native American student services and student organizations.


The Native American Center has the strong potential to become nationally significant as an academic educational and research institution as well as a vital new gathering place for dialogue and exchange on Native American culture, history, and contemporary issues in the Western region. A key aspect of Native American philosophy that is shared by all tribes is a deep respect and integration with the natural world. As part of this effort, the design incorporates site strategies, building materials, building systems and construction processes that will reduce the environmental impacts of the building and create a building which is highly responsive to the climate of Montana, following the historic exemplars of traditional Native American architecture.