OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City-County Health Department just announced its plans to take over two closing schools. The agency will be leasing Oakridge and Sequoyah Elementary Schools through the Pathway to Greatness plan. 

The two sites are among the closing schools that underwent millions of dollars in renovation through MAPS for Kids, but OCCHD is ensuring that work does not go to waste.

Both Sequoyah on Northwest 36th Street and Oakridge on Leonhardt Drive will soon become Wellness and Learning Academies. The idea is just one of the health department's recent efforts to further nurture the physical and mental health of communities that need it most.

OCCHD spokesperson LToya Knighten said, “We’re not only that place where folks can come to receive healthcare services, but we also want to make sure that we’re providing services that help folks learn how to live a healthier life.”

The MAPS for Kids project brought new playground equipment and updated classrooms to each of the buildings less than ten years ago. Kids will remain a target population for the Wellness and Learning Academies with after-school programming, but this time, so will their parents.

“Perhaps while they’re being tutored,” Knighten said, “maybe their family is in a different room having programming such as literacy classes or financial literacy classes.”

The full functions of these sites still are not set in stone, because the health department is looking for community input to tailor their offerings.

Knighten explained, “We want them to be a part of planning what these sites look like, so we don’t want to just come in and assume that we know what that neighborhood needs.”

The Wellness and Learning Academies will be around for at least a decade through a negotiated lease with the school district, so now is your chance to have a say. OCCHD would like neighbors to attend town hall meetings happening at each of the schools this week to provide feedback.

The first event is at Oakridge on Tuesday, May 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. The second event is at Sequoyah on Thursday, May 16 from 6 to 8 p.m.