OCCC partnering with Oklahoma City to help southside residents

southsidequoteOCCC will soon be a partner in a 15,200 square-foot innovative Education and Wellness campus located in southwest Oklahoma City. The center will assist people in getting free or low-cost health services and provide classroom training for teachers working with students in urban schools in Oklahoma City, according to okc.gov.

College President Jerry Steward said he is pleased OCCC will be a part of a facility that will help enhance the health of the residents of south Oklahoma City. He said there is no financial obligation on the part of the college nor will OCCC help provide any healthcare at the center.

“ … We’re not here to provide healthcare to the community,” Steward said. “But what we can do and what we will do … is be involved to the extent we can in providing educational opportunities at the center.”

He said offering non-credit courses is one option.

“It probably wouldn’t be [credit courses], but it could be … classes that have to do with health and hygiene, public health and those kind of things.”

Steward said although the college is a partner in the project, no OCCC employees are expected to work at the center.

“I don’t anticipate staffing,   especially with our shrinking [budget],” he said. “I have to protect the core mission, and our core mission is teaching and learning. We will be involved but we will not be staffing it or have any primary responsibility for the operations center.”

Steward said Executive Vice President Steven Bloomberg has been the representative at the meetings to help with the partnership and facility plans.

Other public and private organizations who are partnering are The City of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, Oklahoma City Public Schools, the University of Oklahoma and the Metropolitan Library System. The campus will be at 6700 S Hudson Ave. in Southern Oaks Park and will be open to Oklahoma City and county residents. Construction is set to start next year pending final City Council approval.

“I think it’s a great idea … ,” Steward said. “All these agencies are coming together to provide better care for the residents in that area.”

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