Mercy Edmond I-35 Administrator Nick Niver is rightly proud of the facility he manages.
Located at 15th Street and I-35, from the tiered landscaping and water feature, to the architectural design that incorporates an abundance of windows that connect with nature, to the lighting and decorative touches throughout and to the state-of-the-art fitness center, the 206,000-square-foot, $90 million facility looks warm and inviting.
It also offers a lap swimming pool, a heated rehabilitation pool, a fitness pool, a child care center for patient and fitness center member use, OB/GYN, cardiology, radiology, dermatology and general surgery services.
On Tuesday, much of the facility opened, and the remaining parts will be open in phases by the end of July, Niver said as he took The Edmond Sun on a tour late Thursday. Members of the 250-strong staff will celebrate a grand opening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today of the Mercy Fitness Center.
Guests will be able to join the center and save $150 and register for other prizes including two VIP tickets to the U.S. Senior Open Championship July 7-13 at Oak Tree National.
Evidence of the May 19, 2013, tornado — which caused $30 million worth of damage and delayed the facility’s opening by a year — is gone.
“We’re extremely excited,” Niver said. “It has been quite a journey and process to get to where we are today and this week. But we are now open to the public and we’re just ecstatic to be able to offer this building to our community and to offer tools that can be used to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
During the afternoon of Sunday, May 19, 2013, supercell thunderstorms quickly developed along the Interstate 44 corridor and headed northeast.
At 4:21 p.m., a tornado touched down in the vicinity of 15th and Coltrane in Edmond, according to the National Weather Service. It tracked northeast, uprooting trees and damaging homes. Before crossing the interstate, it hit Mercy Edmond I-35, causing both visible and not immediately visible damage to the structure.
The facility was preparing for a July 8 grand opening celebration at the time.
Upon closer inspection, damage was much more extensive than administrators originally estimated. Damage included structural, roof, heating and air handling equipment, windows, entrances, exterior facades, interior walls, ceilings and floors.
Original estimates put the grand opening in late summer 2014.
At the time, Niver said leaders agreed to stand by their commitments to employ location co-workers during the recovery period. Providers and staff were relocated and leaned on the dozens of existing Mercy facilities in the area to serve patients.
Mercy contacted individuals who bought memberships before the tornado struck to discuss options for fitness during the delay. A membership office was opened on site.
Other features of Mercy Edmond I-35 include pain management, sports performance and rehabilitation tools, sports medicine, and outpatient orthopedic and hand surgery, a state-of-the-art lab and occupational medicine.
The design also combines water management and habitat conservation such as restoration of native grasses and wildflowers, a preserved wildlife corridor and more than 5 acres of undisturbed existing woodland.
The site will offer more than 100 education, nutrition and workout programs including diabetes education, heart health, joint health, prenatal yoga and water aerobics.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care provider in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. As of July 2013, the system includes 32 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 39,000 co-workers and 1,900 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
For more information about Mercy Edmond I-35, visit www.mercy.net/i35.
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