A new $5 million Activity Center at Shangri-Las Resort will feature Racquet Ball courts, five tennis courts and six pickleball courts according to the resort's president Barry Willingham.

Speaking at a recent Grove Rotary meeting, Willingham said construction will begin before the end of the year. The new facility will also include two bowling lanes along with golf and shooting simulators. In addition, there will be foosball, shuffleboard and pool tables included. "We will have a first-class bar and our deck will extend out over a pond."

According to Willingham, the Activity Center is designed to attract corporate meetings. Included in the center is a 50-seat movie theater which will have state-of-the-art video conferencing capabilities. This will allow companies to have speakers from remote locations to address their conferences.

The center will add to the nearly $70 million the company already has invested in the property. According to Willingham, memberships will be available for $199 a month to the general public.

Willingham, who was named the president of the resort in May, has extensive corporate experience including as president of Ameristar Perimeter Security in Tulsa and Smith and Wesson Security Services in Tennessee.

His vision is to have Shangri-La Resort be an area economic leader and help generate additional growth in the area. "No one of us is as smart as all of us working together. We want the whole lake to prosper, to rise up and to be awesome."

To that end, the company plans to hold a major Leadership Training session during the winter months at the resort. The training will be based on the Six Sigma certification method which awards Yellow Belt, Green Belt and Black Belt certifications. The training is designed to improve operational efficiency as well as develop individual leadership capabilities.

The training will be open to individuals and businesses in the area although there will be a charge for the training.

Willingham told Rotary members that he is also developing career training for resort employees so that they have a career path with the organization. "We all can make a difference."

He also said the company is in talks with Har-Ber Village to provide guests to tour the museum as part of their visit to the resort.

The renovation of Shangri-La began with its purchase in 2010 by Tulsa manufacturing giant Eddy Gibbs who was the owner of Ameristar Fence Products. The name Shangri-La comes for the 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, by James Hilton. The fictional village was a happy land isolated from the world where people lived well beyond a normal lifespan.