Special to The Sun
OKLAHOMA CITY —
Gov. Mary Fallin this week announced the opening of the Capitol Wellness Center, a new workout facility at the State Capitol that is part of Oklahoma’s larger effort to improve citizen health.
“A year ago I ordered the Capitol smoking room closed and a wellness center built in its place as a symbol of our commitment to a healthier, happier Oklahoma. Opening this center today as we begin a new legislative session is real progress we should be proud of,” Fallin said. “Staying healthy and fit has obvious personal benefits, but it also has wider benefits to our state and its economy. Healthy workers are more productive and have lower health care costs, which increases efficiency and drives down costs for public and private employers alike.”
Secretary of Health Dr. Terry Cline said he expects the Capitol Wellness Center will help improve personal health and lower health care costs for state employees who use it.
“It’s a small space that will make a big difference for the hundreds of hardworking state employees and elected officials at the Capitol. If it makes even a few of my fellow state workers a little healthier, it will have been well worth the effort,” Cline said.
The Capitol Wellness Center is located in Room B-2 in the Capitol basement. Employees who work in the Capitol building, including elected officials, can begin taking tours of the center this week. Employees interested in using the center will be asked to sign up for orientation classes. Orientations, which will begin within two weeks, will be conducted by staff from the YMCA. After completing orientation, employees will be able to use the center.
Hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. The wellness center will be closed on state holidays. Access to the center will be granted through security cards issued to employees who sign up to use the center. Security will be provided by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Capitol patrol. Use of the center will be free for three months. In order to fund operations, a small, to-be-determined monthly fee will then be charged to employees who use the center.
The Capitol Wellness Center features treadmills, weightlifting equipment, cardio equipment, stationary bicycles, lockers, televisions and restrooms with showers. In the coming months, the Health Department will develop and coordinate additional fitness events, classes and services.
The 1,900 square-foot facility replaces the former clerk’s office for the Supreme Court, which moved out of the Capitol last year to the new Oklahoma Judicial Center. Renovations to the space and some equipment purchases were funded through a $38,500 grant from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and a $20,000 matching grant from the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Edmond businessman Dan Bales also donated exercise equipment. Additional fitness center costs of $80,000 came from the Office of Management and Enterprise Services facility maintenance fund.