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Mercy facility to open to rehab patients in late January


AMHERST — The new $7 million Mercy Recreation and Wellness Center won’t formally welcome visitors until an open house Feb. 1.

But some will be able to start using the 9,500-square-foot facility the week before when Mercy Regional Medical Center begins moving its occupational and physical therapy services there from its main hospital campus in Lorain.

“That last week in January we’ll start seeing rehab patients in the new center,” Mercy marketing director Jennifer Cakir said.

Work on the facility is “more than back on track” after rain and wind from superstorm Sandy caused some damage to the center’s front lobby and a rooftop heating-air conditioning unit in late October, according to Lorain County Metro Parks Director Jim Ziemnik.

The storm had left the ground so saturated that machinery was unable to get close enough to the structure to do repairs.

“All of the windows are in place, and there is now heat in every part of the building,” Ziemnik said.

While Metro Parks officials, including former director Dan Martin, had pledged to have the center open Jan. 1, the contract for the project between the park district and Starr Builders actually set Feb. 1 as the contractual deadline for completion, Ziemnik said.

Officials hoped to be open by the start of the new year “to catch the holiday crowd wanting to get into shape,” Ziemnik said. “The contractor also wanted to be done by then so they didn’t have to hang around an extra month.”

The new center will enable the hospital to expand rehabilitation services in other areas, particularly aquatic therapy.

“We’ll be taking advantage of the therapy pool there,” Cakir said. “It has an underwater treadmill and a cycle for low-impact water exercises designed to restore function, build strength and increase range of motion.”

The therapy pool is one of the recreation and wellness center’s major features along with an eight-lane swimming pool, elevated walking track and aerobics exercise rooms.

Aquatic therapy is used by people to treat back and knee pain, as well as cerebral palsy, Cakir said.

Sports medicine and occupational therapists also will be able to offer wider treatment for sports-related hip, knee and ankle injuries.

Mercy also plans to expand its women’s health rehabilitation services for pelvic pain and incontinence.

Children will be able to take advantage of more tailored treatment, including a custom-built sensory room in which stimulation can be regulated for youngsters who don’t like to be touched or are under treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Informal tours of the new center will be given in the week leading up to the official open house, Ziemnik said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

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