Chickasaw Nation to open a community center and senior center in OKC 

click to enlarge Oklahoma City Senior Center and Community Center Groundbreaking Ceremony held at 4001 N.W. 39th Expressway, Oklahoma City
  • Oklahoma City Senior Center and Community Center Groundbreaking Ceremony held at 4001 N.W. 39th Expressway, Oklahoma City

The Chickasaw Nation broke ground on new community and senior centers in Oklahoma City on Aug. 4. Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby led the ceremony, which took place on the 50-acre property in northwest Oklahoma City.

The property was chosen for its central Oklahoma City location and features a 26-acre lake, meadows and wooded areas. The location previously owned by Sportsman’s Country Club will provide Chickasaw Nation members a place for a variety of outdoor activities in Oklahoma City. Chickasaw Nation members served on the committee that chose the space and were a vital part of the project.

The expansion of Chickasaw Nation Community and Senior centers into the metro is a direct result of a growing Chickasaw presence in the city, according to Anoatubby. The goal of the expansion is to improve access to Chickasaw history and culture. The centers follow recently completed Oklahoma City area Chickasaw Nation office and gallery Exhibit C in Bricktown as well as the installation of “The Warrior” statue and several plaques describing Chickasaw history and culture along the Bricktown canal.

Anoatubby said the project is a necessity.

“Our elders and community members needed a place to come together and call their own,” he said in a statement released by The Chickasaw Nation. “Across the Chickasaw Nation, the Chickasaw Community Centers and Senior Centers serve as places of fellowship, festivity and activity for all of our Chickasaw citizens.”

The two new spaces, a community and senior center built in the Adirondack style, will be home to community services for members of the Chickasaw Nation. This comes as a welcome development to council members who have met in numerous spaces over the years and simply wish to have a central location specifically for them.

click to enlarge OKC-community-center-rendering.jpg

The two-story 21,910-square-foot community center will house a large banquet hall, a multipurpose stage and a large lobby with a fireplace. It will also include a catering kitchen for large events and family-style kitchen for small groups. The center, designed to optimize lake views, will feature a large lounge and deck on the second floor and a large patio connected to the lobby.

The banquet hall will accommodate up to 950 guests and include a state-of-the-art audiovisual system. Additionally, the space will include a meeting room, an office and storage.

Tony Choate, Chickasaw director of media relations, said the project differed from other centers in its Adirondack architecture as well as its ample patio space. The Chickasaw Nation expects the building to be a location for community council meetings, picnics and family reunions.

The 12,000-square-foot Senior Center features a 200-person dining room and scenic lake views. It will also include a parlor room, an exercise room, a craft room and a computer room that doubles as a safe room. While these amenities are similar to other Chickasaw Nation senior centers throughout the state, this location will feature a garden patio.

“Our elders and community members needed a place to come together and call their own,” Anoatubby said in the press release. “Across the Chickasaw Nation, the Chickasaw Community Centers and Senior Centers serve as places of fellowship, festivity and activity for all of our Chickasaw citizens.”

The center will serve as a central location for senior services within the Chickasaw Nation. Choate said it will feature a senior nutrition program providing congregate breakfasts and lunches to Chickasaws and other qualified Native American elders. It also will provide health monitoring, including blood pressure and blood sugar checks. Other services include social activities, cultural classes, speakers and elder wellness programs.

“These new buildings are a continuation of the Chickasaw Nation mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people,” Anoatubby said.

The new spaces came to fruition due to the steady growth of a Chickasaw presence over the past few years. The Oklahoma City Chickasaw Community Council was largely responsible for bringing tribal members who live in the Oklahoma City community together, making the space possible.

“We’re excited for our largest Oklahoma City project to date, one that will give our elders and other community members a place to come and gather and call their own,” Anoatubby said.

The centers are expected to open in late fall or early winter of 2017 and will be located at 4001 NW 39th Street.

Print headline: City living, The Chickasaw Nation recently broke ground on a new community center and senior center in OKC.

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