The best use of available space: Variety Care clinics in OKC occupy some buildings with interesting histories

Great State

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — When Elsa Calderon and her three kids came in for a check-up not long ago, they probably didn’t have any idea what occupied this building before it was a doctor’s office.

“Okay,” says Variety Care CFO Tim Reddout, “Welcome to what was once a bar and is now a community health center.”

If you know your recent city history you might remember Slick Willie’s Pool Hall.

Reddout recalls the first time he ever walked in.

“From here all the way back was pool tables.”

From their beginnings in 1932 with the Junior League, from the Variety Health Centers, and now Variety Care, this organization has always centered itself in the poorest areas of the Oklahoma City Metro and made good use of available space.

Reddout explains, “Most of our clinics are typically placed where you don’t see many other health facilities.”

Variety Care locations do the same thing today, often on purpose.

Medical, dental, behavioral health, optometry, nutrition services, says Reddout, often succeed best because the people they care for recognize these buildings in the first place.

“So they feel that services we provide are connected to what they need,” he continues.

Even a brand new facility like this one on Britton Road borrowed from the abandoned elementary school that once occupied this spot.

The brick entryway and some of the inspirational quotes written on the walls made their way here so people could relate to where they were.

Tim agrees, “It is really interesting some of the buildings we end up having.”

In the old Lafayette Elementary School, young families in need still roam the same hallways.

In this old grocery store built in 1927, the aisles carry only medicine now.

And back in the old Slick Willie’s, Elsa Calderon and family are getting the medical care they desperately need in an unlikely but useful place.

Reddout chuckles, “We’re going to change health care in Oklahoma City one bar at a time.”

In 2018, Variety Care offices throughout the Metro saw more than 300,000 patients walk through their doors.

For more information on what they do and the services they offer, go to
http://www.varietycare.org/.

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