Renovations began last week, closing the chapter house down since last Wednesday. It is expected to reopen early next week.
For now, rennovations will only include the bathrooms, though eventually the records office, kitchen and roof will also be remodeled.
"To do the job right, we have to do the whole nine yards," said chapter pesident Duane "Chili" Yazzie.
The chapter is expected to spend about $100,000 on improvements. The Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority and Navajo Technical College contributed labor and resources for the project.
The building, which dates back to the mid-1980s, is long overdue for improvements. For the past few years, it has sustained a variety of structural issues, including plumbing and roof leakage.
Since last Wednesday, crews from the college and the authority have primarily been working on the plumbing. By the end of the week, both the women's and men's restrooms will be remodeled. The restrooms will be adjacent to each other and will both have public showers installed.
"We have a lot of people that do not have access to showers," said Yazzie.
Each restroom will have one shower that will be available for use for a nominal fee. The fee has yet to be determined, but Yazzie said it should only be a few dollars per use.
Some community members, though, are concerned the showers may attract homeless people, making the chapter house less
"They could be kind of a repellent," said Shiprock resident Jacky Dixon-Benally.
Others were skeptical that the improvements were the best use for chapter funds.
"I 100 percent support the chapter, but there's other issues," said Farmington's Sal Pocowatchit. "There's no such thing as animal control out there."
Still, many were excited for the improvements, particularly the kitchen. The kitchen is hoped to be converted into a part-time community restaurant, one that would serve traditional Navajo cuisine.
The kitchen will not undergo improvements until this summer, after the chapter advertises for project bids.
The roof also will be mended and possibly replaced in the next year.
Jenny Kane can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane.