First MAPS 3 wellness center opens

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 12:01 am

by Brian Brus

The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY – The first of four city-owned, senior wellness centers formally opened in north Oklahoma City Tuesday with a long list of potential members already collected, officials said.

Jefferson Killgore, executive director of the managing agency Healthy Living & Fitness Inc., said his staff has reserved space for a 100th birthday party in a few weeks.

Healthy Living is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group approved by the City Council in an open bid process to run the MAPS 3 wellness center. Three other centers are scheduled for construction under the $777 million Metropolitan Area Projects sales tax issue. They will be built by City Hall for a total cost of about $50 million and operated by different parties selected to best meet the demands of the surrounding community.

The first center, which still hasn’t been named, has 40,000 square feet with a heated indoor saltwater swimming pool, a full gymnasium, equipment exercise room, outdoor bocce ball court and aerobics room. It also has classroom space and a demonstration kitchen for educational events, an art studio and health screening room.

Killgore said the center’s revenue will come from four primary sources: membership fees, grants, philanthropic gifts and space rentals such as the aforementioned birthday party. The agency will provide quarterly updates to its board members and work with city staff to ensure its goals are being met. Benchmarks haven’t been set yet, he said.

The second center, 4021 S. Walker Ave., is scheduled to be finished before 2018. It will have similar amenities and be managed by NorthCare Mental Health, although more of the space will be clinic-oriented and it will have an indoor walking track, MAPS project manager David Todd said.

The City Council has authorized Todd to start negotiating with Langston University to operate the third site near Interstate 35 and NE 30th Street. School officials proposed collaborating with Community Health Centers Inc. for primary health care services and the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City for fitness programs.

City Council members have said they are interested in expanding the MAPS 3 project list to include a fifth center. Councilman Pete White, who has supported the wellness center concept, said Tuesday he was concerned about a resolution to increase the first center’s budget by $160,000 for additional construction, furniture and gym equipment costs.

“If we manage our money properly, I think there will be an opportunity for a fifth wellness center,” White said. “I’m not sure it makes sense to add to any project until we get to the end of the line and see where we’re going.”

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