Two buildings set to open by the end of 2023 at Walmart’s new corporate campus in Bentonville are a 360,000 square foot fitness center and a 73,000 square foot daycare center. The Walton family is providing $225 million for the facilities.
Company officials and members of the Walton family announced the details Wednesday, April 6, during an event at Walmart headquarters. The company declined to provide a cost estimate for each building.
The new Walton Whole Health & Fitness Center will focus on expanded health programs to include healthy eating and cooking and relaxation massages. Other amenities include indoor pickleball courts, outdoor tennis, three swimming pools, a cafe, and spaces for basketball, volleyball, cricket, yoga, weight training, and fitness. (Link here for a Walmart campus tour.)
The Walton family fitness dates back to 1983 when the company opened a facility at 1701 SE 14th Street in Bentonville. Alice Walton, daughter of founders Sam and Helen Walton, said health and fitness were important to her father, who did much of his exercise chopping wood for the family hearth. She said there weren’t many fitness options in 1980s Bentonville. Sam Walton was also known for playing basketball on local outdoor courts at area schools. Alice Walton, along with her nephews Tom and Steuart Walton, all spoke at Wednesday’s event.
The fitness center has been expanded over the years, but Alice Walton said after nearly 40 years, Walmart employees need and deserve affordable access to health and wellness that goes above and beyond. beyond physical fitness to include mental health. She also spoke about the Whole Health Institute she spearheads the grounds of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Walton said health care has evolved over the past 30 years, but his institute seeks to change the way health care is viewed. She said emotional health needs to be on par with physical health, and the entire healthcare payment system needs to shift to an outcome-based model.
“Northwest Arkansas is the perfect place to see if we can transform healthcare. We are working with major area employers, insurers and healthcare providers in this endeavor,” said Alice Walton. “Providing associates with easy access to offerings that improve health and wellbeing is an essential part of overall health and our family is thrilled to provide support for these innovative resources.”
Cindi Marsiglio, senior vice president of corporate real estate at Walmart, said the new fitness center will also offer family-friendly programs such as archery lessons and movie night at all three pools. of the Center. She told Talk Business & Politics that any Walmart employee can join the fitness center and have access to programming. This cost is now $9 per pay period. She said the new fee schedules were not yet determined, but would be affordable because access for all is core to Walmart’s mission. Marsiglio also said the support and contribution of the Walton family is also a plus given the ongoing work across the program and health practices.
She said the 73,000-square-foot daycare will accommodate 500 children from 6 months to kindergarten. Like the Sam’s Club corporate child care services launched in 2020, Walmart will outsource the work to a third-party provider. Marsiglio said on-site child care is the most requested benefit by Walmart employees. She said the Walmart daycare will also offer summer camps and other programs. Marsiglio said Walmart’s corporate campus employees will have first access to daycare slots. If there is too much space, services will be offered to employees from other locations in the region.
Donna Morris, director of human resources at Walmart, said Walmart employees have about 300 babies a year. Marsiglio said the region lacks affordable childcare and that’s also why many women stay out of the workplace, contributing to labor supply issues. .
The Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center in Bentonville has served as a de facto daycare center for many Walmart employees over the years. Marsiglio said that Walmart and Sam’s Club offering on-site daycare should free up space at the center for other area children. She said it’s too early to know what the cost of on-site daycare will be, but reiterated that it will be affordable for those working on campus.
CURRENT CAMPUS CLARITY
With work continuing on the new corporate campus, questions arose about the fate of 8th and Walton. Tom and Steuart Walton said their property development company blue crane agreed to acquire the existing home office at 8th Street and Walton Boulevard for an undisclosed amount. Blue Crane is the property acquisition and development arm of Track groupdiversified holding company based in Bentonville and led by the Walton brothers.
Plans are yet to be determined, but the brothers spoke of the need for greater housing density near downtown that allows for a more connected community where residents can bike or walk to work.
Steuart Walton, also a Walmart executive, said the new home office site will set the company up for the next 50 years. He said the family’s mission is to make Bentonville the best place to live in the country.
“We have to build, catch up and run ahead,” he said.