Oklahoma’s citizens are among the unhealthiest in America, and many organizations around the state are creating initiatives to improve the situation. FSB, through Oklahoma City’s MAPS downtown development program, is doing its part to help address this problem through the design and construction of a state-of-the-art health and wellness center.
The multi-purpose 37,000 SF community center serves as a one-stop shop, striving to meet the physical, emotional, educational, medical and social needs of its members through programming and services that promote wellness and enhance quality of life.
Expected to serve about 4,000 seniors over age 50, the Pete White Health and Wellness Center incorporates a fitness and track area, aquatic areas, social and learning areas, an adult daycare center, a health clinic, a pharmacy and both administrative and support areas. Spaces are designed to meet the specific needs of multiple partner agencies that are housed on site, such as the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.
The center’s first-floor organization is simple with two wings where all activities and services accessed from a highly visible, amply-sized circulation spine. The design is open and flexible, providing a path — literally and figuratively — to healthy living by encouraging seniors to keep moving, no matter what their fitness and ability level.
The main entrance, complete with a central welcome desk, leads directly to the heart of the facility, which contains a hub with lounges, a café and fitness areas. Multiple rest areas and lounges create informal opportunities for visitors to rest, play games and interact with the larger community, while handrails along the circulation spine provide subtle but important assistance. An arts patio to the southwest opens directly off the arts and crafts and kiln rooms to provide an expanded program area, while an elevated walking/jogging track allows exercisers to go at their own pace, without interference from regular pedestrian traffic. Natural lighting is used throughout.
The building’s design utilizes a “front porch” theme, with a covered drop-off area and seating adjacent to a convenient pick-up loop. A corresponding “back porch” on the south side provides shaded social and program spaces in a secure fenced area, with pathways linking it to the city-owned Hosea Vinyard Park and spaces for gardening and lawn recreation activities. A sheltered Oklahoma City bus stop will also be located on site for easier access. Service access is to the west, screened by the building and allowing direct access to catering and congregate meals delivery.
Located along South Walker Avenue, the new Pete White Health and Wellness Center is fronted on the north by Capitol Hill High School and on the south by the park. Its proximity to the latter creates an opportunity for the center’s users to take advantage of the park’s outdoor trails and other amenities. Since the pharmacy and health clinic can also be used by Capitol Hill’s students, an additional entrance was added so that these students would not disturb center activities.