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Fitness center will open soon in Oklahoma Capitol

A fitness center is being developed in a much larger space than originally planned in the Oklahoma Capitol's basement. State Capitol employees as well as lawmakers and elected officials will be able to use the center for free after it opens early next year.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: December 14, 2012
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John Estus, spokesman for the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services, said some of the money to pay for the work is from a $38,500 grant from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

The Oklahoma Hospital Association is providing a $20,000 grant.

An anonymous donor is providing some of the fitness equipment, he said.

The rest of the cost will be paid by the state, Estus said.

“We don't have a tally on that yet,” Morrison said. “We're doing some of this work ourselves.”

The new space is more than 10 times bigger than the smoking room, he said.

It's about 1,800 square feet.

Fitness equipment will include four treadmills, two bikes and various weight machines and other workout equipment, Morrison said.

Capitol employees were surveyed about what type of fitness activities they would like, and the center was developed around that information, he said. Several employees now walk regularly in the Capitol.

Participants will sign a waiver before using the fitness center, Morrison said.

Access to the center will be by state-issued cards.

Health Commissioner Terry Cline said because of the large amount of time people spend at work, it's important to try to influence behaviors during the work day. It especially is true at the Capitol, where most people work at desks and put in long hours during the four-month legislative session.

“There's a great opportunity to see improved health outcomes,” Cline said. “Studies have found that worksite wellness programs result in 25 percent reduction in illness.”