Photo Credit: 
Chronicle photos by Lisa Carroll

CYRIL – An independent living facility has opened here in a former nursing home that has received a $2 million facelift.

The “Cyril Retirement Community” has new plumbing, a new heating and air conditioning system, new sinks, toilets and showers in every room, plus new sheetrock, flooring, ceiling fans, and fresh paint throughout the interior. The building was rewired by Cyril electrician Shane Cogburn. Fifty-five new energy-efficient double-pane windows were bought and installed, a covered patio was built at the rear of the building, the kitchen has been overhauled, a gas fireplace has been constructed between the entryway and the living room, and new exterior doors were installed. “This building was constructed in the early 1960s,” said Jim McWhirter of Oklahoma City, the owner/ developer. “It’s the same physical structure but it’s been completely remodeled.”

The 16,000 square-foot facility has 35 suites, of which 30 are single rooms and five are doubles; all rooms have an overhead sprinkler and a smoke detector. Some rooms, but not all, will have computer outlets. Every room has a microwave oven, a small refrigerator, a new sink and toilet plus a shower. The building previously had only two showers but now has three dozen, McWhirter said. Occupants will provide their own furniture, such as beds and dressers, he said, “so it’ll feel more like home to them.” Residents will receive three meals per day and snacks will be available, McWhirter said. A housekeeper will clean each room once a week, he said. The retirement center has a hair salon and a laundry room with two washing machines and two dryers. 

The facility will be staffed with 10 employees, McWhirter said, including a full-time activity director, but no nurses, he said. The center is designed to accommodate residents who are ambulatory and self-sufficient, he said; however, residents and/or their families are welcome to provide medical care or hospice care for any resident who needs it, McWhirter said. Rentals will range from $1,500 to $2,000 per month, he said. The facility is open to anyone aged 50 or older, McWhirter said, and will accommodate a maximum of 40 residents. The building has three wings and the site has enough room to construct another wing if ever it’s needed.

McWhirter said he acquired the building in 2010 from a Cyril church. “The first thing we did was replace the roof,” he said, “because it leaked.” He said he and his wife decided to open an independent living center here after performing market research. “There’s nothing like this in this area,” he said. “And there’s a lot of interest in an independent living center,” he said, including from area Native American tribes. An “open house” was held Oct. 26 and the center will open for business in the latter half of November, McWhirter said. “We still have a few more things to do.” The center is located at 510 S. 4th Street.

“It’s wonderful to see this place open again and take off,” said Brad Alexander, a former mayor of Cyril. McWhirter and his wife, Lisa, a therapist, founded Eagle Christian Ministries in 2008 in Oklahoma City; they help people recovering from addiction and sponsor group homes to help women emerging from prison to get re-established in society, he said. And the McWhirters own Wellington Parke, a Christian retirement community and assisted living center in Del City. McWhirter also owns Gemini Builders construction company in Oklahoma City, and is the managing broker of a Re/Max realty office in Oklahoma City. He serves on the Oklahoma City Board of Appeals, which hears appeals seeking variances of building code decisions made by city staff.

In addition, McWhirter hosts a 5-minute program about retirement that airs live at 6:40 a.m. Sunday mornings on Oklahoma City’s KWTV station and is rebroadcast throughout the day Sundays on Cox Cable. He also hosts and produces a 30-minute program, “Baby Boomers in Action,” that airs at 11:30 a.m. Saturdays on KSBI-TV channel 52 in Oklahoma City and at midnight Saturdays on KWTV.