By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
Young athletes and weekend warriors will both benefit from therapy services that will be available at a new building under construction in O’Fallon, Ill.
The McKendree MetroRec Plex and developer S.I. Strategy LLC, have partnered with HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital on a new therapy building soon to be constructed on the northeast side of the MetroRec Plex, which is at U.S. 50 and Scott-Troy Road.
St. Elizabeth’s has leased the planned first-floor 5,500 square-foot addition, which will offer outpatient physical and occupational therapy for adults and pediatric patients, focusing on athletic injuries and orthopedic care. Patients seen at this facility will additionally have access to aquatic therapy and St. Elizabeth’s AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.
“Providing convenient, state-of-the art outpatient physical and occupational therapy locations for our patients has been at the forefront of our minds in this planning process,” said Patti Fischer, president and CEO of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. “We are excited to partner with the MetroRec Plex as we have a shared commitment to the health and well-being of our community.”
The McKendree MetroRec Plex, which opened last year, is a state-of-the-art sports complex that offers two NHL-sized ice rinks, an aquatic center fit with a 10-lane championship swimming pool and recreational pool, and a fitness center that includes a Cardio Center sponsored by St. Elizabeth’s. There is also a weight room, group fitness classes and child care, among other services.
“It is such an honor to be a part of the continued expansion of the McKendree MetroRec Plex and the Four Points Center here in O’Fallon,” said Dean Oelze, president of the MetroRec Plex. “It has always been our goal to bring businesses that provide much needed services that will support the growth of our community to this area. Joining forces with HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital on this project is another giant step towards reaching that goal.”
The McKendree MetroRec Plex is the anchor of what is called the Four Points Center, with much acreage potentially to be developed.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new therapy addition took place on June 19. The event was held in conjunction with the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours.
Speaking at that event, James Dover, HSHS Southern Illinois Division president and CEO, said the therapy center represents an investment in the greater region, just as the hospital itself was when it opened this year along Interstate 64 in O’Fallon, about two miles from the MetroRec Plex.
“It’s more than just HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital opening on Green Mount, where we put about $300 million into that project. Since we’ve opened it, it’s far exceeded outpatient volumes,” he said. But most importantly are the partnerships. Not everything happens within the four walls of the hospital, and we’re very proud of that.”
Dover pointed out that the hospital investment was funded about half from cash reserves and other half was from long-term debt, some $187 million in bonds financed through the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority.
Fischer, the hospital president, said the hospital has ongoing partnerships with other entities that have a commitment to the health and well-being of the community, including O’Fallon Township High School and O’Fallon Parks and Recreation.
“The outpatient care that will take place in this beautiful, spacious facility will allow our physical and occupational therapy services room to expand and provide our therapy services for adult and pediatric patients, focusing on athletic injuries and orthopedic care. At this facility, patients will have additionally access to aquatic therapy and some amazing technology,” she said.
The anti-gravity treadmill uses “NASA differential air pressure technology” to allow rehabilitation and sports training with up to an 80 percent reduction in body weight while running or walking for safe rehabilitation for patients.
Tom Dibadj, who is physical therapist and director of Rehabilitative Services at St. Elizabeth’s, said clientele will be comprised of the general population — anyone who suffers afflictions like back pain, neck pain, and knee and shoulder injuries. The MetroRec Plex setting will help draw younger people.
“Our clinics tend to be kind of institutional, and this is more of a gym-type setting, a little more for a younger, athletic-type population,” he said.
At the same time, older patients will be an ongoing concern. As the older population becomes more active, it puts new pressure on well-used bones and joints. Weekend warriors and golfers fall into that category, Dibadj said.
Construction is to begin this month, and officials hope to have the center done before the end of the year.