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Senior class


OKC officials mull over a quartet of proposals for senior wellness centers.

Tim Farley May 22nd, 2013

Multiple operating partners likely will be needed for four senior wellness centers promised by Oklahoma City’s MAPS 3 program.

Mike Dover
Credit: Mark Hancock

An initial request for proposals attracted four applicants — Putnam City Baptist Church, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, Valir Health and NorthCare — with different backgrounds related to their respective work with senior citizens.

But none of the applicants was willing to take on all four centers. Each proposed to operate one facility.

“Thus far, it’s probably safe to assume we will have more than one operator and partner,” said Mike Dover, chairman of the Senior Health and Wellness Centers subcommittee. “I suspect we will pick at least one partner from this round (of proposals).”

He said one applicant had a “small edge” over the others, but declined to elaborate.


‘Someone with a vision’
“We need someone with a vision and passion to serve our citizens who are 50 and older,” Dover said. “They’ll be serving able-bodied men and women in their 50s to pretty fragile men and women in their 80s and 90s. It’s important to find someone who has the capacity in terms of the program side and the financial ability to support it.”

All of the applicants requested varying forms of city subsidies to operate a wellness center. Valir Health asked for the largest amount, with an average of $17,500 a month, while the city-county health department proposed a first-year subsidy of $114,072. The health department’s would-be subsidy would increase to almost $170,000 annually for the next four years.

NorthCare did not ask for a cash subsidy but requested that savings on property acquisitions and preparation be used for construction and furnishings. Meanwhile, Putnam City Baptist Church proposed selling part of its 31-acre church campus to the city and investing the proceeds in a fund to generate a continuing source of revenue for the wellness center. The church is located at 11401 N. Rockwell.

Valir Health proposed building a facility at 720 N.W. Eighth, which is at Red Andrews Park in Midtown, while NorthCare’s would-be site includes 23 acres at 2625 General Pershing Blvd., located east of the State Fair Park between May and Villa avenues. The city-county health department’s proposed location is at its Northeast Regional Health and Wellness campus, 2600 N.E. 63rd.


Decisions to be made
The Senior Health and Wellness Centers subcommittee and city officials interviewed representatives from each organization on April 2, but the panel still needs more information and will hold additional meetings.

“All of the proposals were credible,” Dover said, “but we all had additional questions for each one.”

MAPS 3 Program Manager David Todd said the city undoubtedly will send out another request for proposals. But for now, getting additional information from the current applicants is the chief priority.

“There’s a lot of things that remain unanswered, and it’s not necessarily the same thing with all of them,” he said.

The budget for the four centers is $52.3 million, with the price tag for the first facility listed at $11.7 million.

Construction on the first center is scheduled to begin in 2016.

Its location will be determined by which applicant the city selects as its operating partner.

Amenities in each facility may differ based on needs and desires of the surrounding community. However, a typical wellness center could include a gymnasium, an indoor walking track, a fitness trail, classrooms, a lap pool, a therapy pool, social lounge spaces, a library and areas for art, games and computer access.

 
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