Stillwater News Press

February 3, 2013

City of Stillwater to address wellness of employees

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater is making a wellness program available to its employees. Monday, city councilors will be asked to purchase $59,688 in fitness equipment and authorize $24,000 in renovations to an existing city building to provide a fitness center for employees and their spouses.

The city council will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 723 S. Lewis.

PR Fitness Equipment is the only full-service fitness equipment provider in Oklahoma, according to a report included in the City Council meeting packet. City staff recommends purchasing the equipment from the Edmond-based company.

The company will provide:

• Free design and layout consultation.

• Free training on proper equipment use.

• Free equipment maintenance.

• Delivery and installation.

According to the report, PR Fitness Equipment will provide better service and support reliability than fitness equipment firms that provide only local sales. PR Fitness Equipment started in 2006. It operates in five states with equipment in high schools and universities, corporations, hotels, apartments and city governments.

A timetable hasn’t been established for the fitness center installation, Stillwater Director of Marketing and Public Relations Sherry Fletcher said.

The fitness center is just one part of the city’s wellness initiative. The program covers all aspects of an employee’s health, incuding smoking cessation, financial wellness, fitness information and nutritional planning, according to the report.

The program features:

• Health screening for all full-time employees and spouses covered under the city’s medical plan.

• Completion of a health-risk assessment.

• Year-round education program on a variety of health-related topics.

• Starting a walking program.

• Provide incentives to complete specific wellness activities.

City staff reviewed several wellness programs, including Oklahoma State University’s Healthiest Campus Initiative, according to the report. OSU has seen improvements in health-risk factors like nutritional balance, medical health, stress management, risk behavior and physical activity since it launched its America’s Healthiest Campus initiative, university spokesman Gary Shutt said.

The wellness initiatives also have reduced medical claim costs, which was passed on to OSU employees through a 3 percent reduction in health-care premium costs this year, Shutt said.

The Seretean Wellness Center and Colvin Recreation Center have seen the number of unique visitors triple since the facilities were added to the employee benefit package. Unique visitors went from 751 in 2010-2011 to 2,338 in 2011-2012, he said.

This is employee use and doesn’t include student use of the Colvin Center, he added.

“We are extremely pleased with our results and continue to provide employees and students an assortment of wellness opportunities, including exercise, nutrition, awareness, training and more,” Shutt said. “We are working hard to be America’s Healthiest Campus.”