The Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) announced plans to expand one of its campuses in a partnership with the metro’s newest professional sports franchise.
Officials said they unanimously approved a letter of intent Dec. 9 from the Oklahoma City Energy Football Club to build a multi-field training facility at the Northeast Regional Health and Wellness Campus in Oklahoma City.
Jason Hawkins, Energy FC general manager, said partnering with OCCHD is good for both organizations.
“We had been pursuing various locations and partnerships for just the right place to call home,” said Hawkins. “When this opportunity came about with OCCHD and their desire to have sports fields on the campus master plan, it was a natural fit.”
OCCHD officials are excited as well. Ken Johnson, OCCHD media relations coordinator, said officials plan to take their original designs to a higher level overall.
“The OCCHD had always planned to build basketball courts and multi-purpose sports fields on the NE Health and Wellness Campus,” said Johnson. “The Energy FC partnership will allow for higher-grade fields to be constructed and maintained as well as provide additional programming and community engagement opportunities.”
Hawkins and Johnson said the current design includes two professional-grade, 80-yard-wide soccer fields as well as basketball courts, additional parking, restrooms and a concessions area.
While construction on the fields has already begun, officials say they anticipate the project to be finished by summer 2015.
Until then, Johnson said OCCHD and Energy FC program staff will meet regularly with community partners to develop a schedule of programs and activities to give Oklahoma City locals opportunities to come to the campus and engage in active lifestyles.
Johnson said a grant from BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma (BCBS) will cover a quarter of the project’s estimated initial $600,000 price tag, while OCCHD will cover the remaining funds. He also said Energy FC’s contribution would be maintenance and programming on the fields, equating to approximately $500,000 in-kind payments over the next five years
As part of the partnership, Hawkins said Energy FC will work closely with OCCHD and BCBS to provide clinics and physical activities to benefit area youth.
“Obviously, sports programming is the most natural fit,” he said. “Part of the appeal of our being on campus is the attention that will come to the campus as a whole and all of its great programs.”
Johnson expressed mutual praise for Energy FC.
“[Their players] are young men who have committed to healthy living. Energy FC has demonstrated brand recognition and will help to increase traffic at the campus,” he said.
For more information on the project, visit OCCHD’s website at occhd.org or Energy FC’s website at energyfc.com.
Print headline: Energetic fit, The Oklahoma City-County Health Department and OKC Energy FC partnership is ‘a natural fit.’