The City Sentinel, Staff Report
The Santa Fe Family Life Center, an Oklahoma City institution known for the diversity and inclusiveness of its programming reaching athletes of all ability levels, will operate a new 125,000 square foot multi-sports facility in Norman as part of the Norman Forward bond passed in 2015.
“At Santa Fe, our mission is to improve the health of Oklahomans by providing sports and fitness programs for people of all abilities,” said Josef McGuigan, president of the SFFLC board of directors. “By expanding our operations to this new location, we expect to triple the impact of our charitable programs.”
Once complete, the $34 million Young Family Athletic Center will house 8 basketball and 12 volleyball courts, with space for pickleball and futsal as well. The facility will also include an indoor aquatic center, complete with a 25 yard X 8 lane sized competition swimming pool, where local high school and club teams are expected to practice and compete.
A ground-breaking for the Young Family Athletic Center was held July 21, in Norman, with community leaders present and SFFLC staff and board members participating.
A state of the art two-story Sports & Human Performance Center operated through a partnership with Norman Regional Health Systems will round out the project.
At its original location off NE 63rd and Broadway Extension in Oklahoma City, SFFLC is already known in the region for youth and adaptive sports programs which SFFLC plans to expand to Norman.
“Once the Young Family Athletic Center is open, we’ll be able to provide opportunities for more youth in our community by hosting larger basketball and volleyball tournaments as well as swim meets, and we’re excited about that,” said James Timberlake, SFFLC executive director. “We’re even more excited to bring adaptive sports programming to Norman. Watching our adaptive athletes play ball is inspiring, and we expect wheelchair basketball to be big in Norman.”
Santa Fe’s Oklahoma City location is already home to Trae Young Elite Youth Basketball – something Timberlake and the Young family anticipate will expand to the Norman facility. Trae Young, the mega-star professional basketball player, had an exciting night in the Skinz League exhibition game at SFFLC on Monday, July 26th, scoring the winning bucket at the buzzer.
In April, Rayford Young, Norman resident and father to Trae, commented, “We are very excited about being involved with the Young Family Athletic Center in Norman. We love this community, and we also love basketball and volleyball. Our family has had a great partnership with the Santa Fe Family Life Center over the last several years, especially with regards to philanthropy and athletics. This will be a one of a kind facility, and we want it to impact the youth in our community for years to come.”
NOTE: Patrick B. McGuigan, editorial director for The City Sentinel, contributed to this report. He is a past member of the governance board for SFFLC, and remains involved in programs at the facility.