News Column

Oklahoma City's MAPS-funded senior center to feature 'hybrid' pool

August 28, 2014

By William Crum, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

Aug. 28--The first MAPS 3 senior aquatics center is being described as a socially engaging space that will be "light, bright and energetic."

Architects and consultants on Wednesday gave a MAPS 3 advisory committee a look at plans for the 40,000-square-foot center, to be built next to Putnam City Baptist Church at NW 112 and Rockwell Avenue.

The centerpiece is a warm-water "hybrid" pool about half the size of an Olympic swimming pool, fit for activities from water aerobics to lap swimming.

Opportunities to socialize were central to the design, said Doug and Ellen Gallow of Lifespan Design Studio in Loveland, Ohio.

A social wing includes a lobby, coffee bar and cafe, arts and crafts studio, billiard and game room, and meeting rooms including one with space for up to 120 people, with doors opening onto a garden.

Fitness facilities include the pool and a gymnasium with walking track, workout room, aerobics studio and locker rooms.

Space for preventive health care services is drawn in off the lobby, which includes seating and a library for socializing.

The exterior will be finished in brick and fiber cement panels with stone accents, said architect Ryan Eshelman of GSB architects and planners in Oklahoma City.

He characterized the design as "invigorating and inviting" with natural light and shaded spaces outdoors.

"Senior centers should not look like nursing homes," Eshelman said.

Although exercise may not be the first priority for many visitors, the design offers "lots of opportunities to walk people into that healthy lifestyle," he said.

Safety is paramount, with security cameras throughout the complex.

Parking spaces will be within 300 feet of the door, with a curbless design to reduce trip hazards and walkways to save pedestrians from having to walk behind cars as drivers back out.

The center will be built on the northeast quadrant of the Putnam City Baptist property, on land being acquired from the church.

It will be run by Healthy Living & Fitness Inc., a nonprofit associated with Putnam City Baptist. Healthy Living will retain the ability to rent out spaces, such as meeting rooms and the gymnasium, outside regular center hours.

A "term sheet" approved by the city council includes requirements that fees be set to ensure low-income senior citizens have access and that the center be open a minimum of 65 hours per week.

The Oklahoma City Public Property Authority will lease the land and buildings to Healthy Living.

Healthy Living will have a five-year lease, with an option to renew for three more five-year terms, as long as the city and the Oklahoma City Public Property Authority agree.

Construction, equipment and furnishings are expected to cost about $8.6 million, bringing the total to around $10 million. Design and construction are funded by the 1-cent MAPS 3 sales tax approved by voters in December 2009.

The center is expected to open in 2016.

Four or five MAPS 3 senior aquatics centers are to be built throughout the city. Plans are underway to locate the second one near Capitol Hill High School in south Oklahoma City.


(c)2014 The Oklahoman

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Source: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City)

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