Photos by Deidre K. Elrod/Choctaw Nation
District 7 Councilman Jack Austin Sr. wields the scissors as Chief Gary Batton, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr., the Choctaw Nation Tribal Council, local officials, and citizens join him in front of the Choctaw Wellness Center in Antlers. A crowd was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the facility Tuesday, November 1. Those attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Choctaw Wellness Center Tuesday, November 1 in Antlers enjoy one of the sports features of the facility.
ANTLERS – A sign on the front of the rock, stucco, wood and steel exterior of a beautiful new building in Antlers reads, Chahta Achukmaka – Choctaw Wellness. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Choctaw Wellness Center Tuesday, November 1, opened doors not only to a new building but a new era for residents in the southeast Oklahoma town.
Addressing the crowd, Chief Gary Batton, said, “It’s all about wellness and prevention, and so what we’re trying to do is to get people healthy before they have diabetes and before they have cardiovascular diseases. That is the reason this is so important in Pushmataha County.”
And that is what the multi-million dollar facility is designed to do.
Located at 304 SW O St., the Choctaw Wellness Center is a 9,700-square foot facility that includes a half-court basketball gym and indoor walking track. Dedicated is a 2,500-square-foot space to top-of-the-line cardio- and strength-training machines. Another 2,000 square feet is for group fitness classes. Other Wellness Center amenities are men’s and women’s showers and restrooms, as well as lockers for day use. Center staff will be on hand to offer free personal training programs, nutritional counseling, and comprehensive fitness assessments to members of the center.
At the ceremony, members of the Choctaw Tribal Council were recognized, as well as other local officials.
Veteran Council member Jack Austin Sr. said anticipation for the Wellness Center has been high among Choctaw citizens of District 7. “They’re excited about it. We have a walking trail, and that’s used very well. I know they’re going to use this,” Austin said.
The Wellness Center opening in Antlers completes one of more than 40 large construction projects under way at various stages by the Choctaw Nation in southeast Oklahoma.
You can view the film footage from the ceremony on the Choctaw Nation’s Facebook page under “Antlers Ribbon-cutting Video.”