Retirement center projects under way in 2 cities


Officials break ground on Flag Day, June 14, at Epworth Villa Retirement Community in north Oklahoma City. Among them are: District Superintendent Dan Pulver, right; Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, second from right; and John Harned, Epworth’s president, fifth from right.

Epworth Villa leaders report progress on major building projects in two cities: Stillwater and Oklahoma City.

The United Methodist-related organization is expanding its retirement community in Oklahoma City and developing an entirely new retirement facility, The Ranch, in Stillwater.

A groundbreaking took place June 14 at Epworth Villa, and construction on The Ranch is set to begin later this year.

Epworth Villa opened 21 years ago in Oklahoma City. The not-for-profit organization’s campus sets on 40 acres. The new work there will cost $60 million and involve construction of two multi-story buildings as well as renovation of existing structures.

One notable improvement will be complete transformation of the Susanna Wesley Nursing Care Center. Epworth Villa will convert the center into a "main street" for the campus — with dining options, a spa and day salon, wellness and aquatic center, retail services, and ballroom.

New construction includes a three-story independent living building with 36 apartments, a four-story assisted living building with 40 memory-care support units and 78 traditional assisted-living apartments, and underground parking garages that also will serve as storm shelters for the residents.

In addition to the "main street" conversion, other improvements to the current campus include renovation of the education and outreach center to include a medical clinic.

John C. Harned, president/CEO of Epworth Villa, said, "We want to continue providing the services and level of care the seniors of both today and tomorrow expect and deserve."

He estimated the construction in Oklahoma City will create about 140 jobs, with 50 new permanent positions once work is complete.

In Stillwater, The Ranch recently named five members to its volunteer board, which will oversee the operations, stability, and growth of the new retirement community. The members are: Stillwater District Superintendent David Wiggs, Ron Beer, Charles Hull, Jack Massey, and Esther Winterfeldt. Beer will serve as chairperson.

This project was made possible by a generous gift of land from Milton and Mary Lou Morris. They donated 40 acres of land at Ranch Road and 19th Avenue.

In the May issue of (OSU) State Magazine, Harned stated, "I was excited at the prospect of a retirement community in Stillwater. I grew up in Payne County, and both my parents received degrees from OSU. I’m an OSU double-alum myself, so this town holds a special place in my heart."

Last November, Harned officially announced the $60 million project in Stillwater. It will house 250 residents when completed.

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