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Misericordia University Announces Construction for new Occupational and Physical Therapy Facilities

Misericordia University Announces Construction for new Occupational and Physical Therapy Facilities

Misericordia University Announces Construction for new
Occupational and Physical Therapy Facilities

Misericordia University announced today that renovation and construction has begun on a 38,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility to house its popular Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) programs. The new education and healthcare space will be within a renovated section of the former Mercy Center which is immediately adjacent to campus. The university and the Sisters of Mercy recently completed discussions for a long-term lease on the property, which formerly housed a skilled nursing facility that ceased operations in 2022.

OT PT Facility Rendering

The renovated building will feature separate and specially designed space for both the occupational therapy and physical therapy programs. Among the many features, the new facility will offer observation rooms and labs, state-of-the-art lecture rooms with interactive video capabilities, a home health lab, an acute care lab, student lounges and flexible study rooms, capstone centers, and faculty offices, as well as clinic spaces where students and faculty will engage the community.

“Our occupational and physical therapy programs have a long track record of preparing excellent clinical practitioners who care deeply about their patients,” says Daniel J. Myers, Ph.D., president. “This is a very special opportunity to utilize an existing building that is essentially on our campus to enhance both programs’ physical space. We appreciate the Sisters of Mercy working so closely with us on this opportunity following their decision to change the use of that facility.”

The $8.5 million dollar renovation started on March 16 with demolition of the interior walls, ceilings, and mechanical systems. OT will be on the first and second floors while PT will occupy the third floor. Work will also be done on the entrance area to establish the building as a Misericordia University entity and create appropriate and secure access to adjoining housing for Sisters of Mercy. Twenty-five Sisters of Mercy still reside in an attached residential wing of the former Mercy Center. It is expected that work will be complete by December 2023 and ready for use by students in January 2024.

“Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristics of our OT and PT programs, and what makes them the region’s premier programs, are the quality of our faculty and the quality of the student-faculty interactions,” says Barbara Schwartz-Bechet, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Science and Education. “We had adequate space before, but this upgrade will add needed space to facilitate those excellent, existing student faculty interactions as well as keep up with cutting-edge technology and the demands of delivering a premier program.”

The Misericordia University Occupational Therapy department was first accredited in 1985 by the American Occupational Therapy Association. Currently, full-time, traditional students who successfully complete the Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Science (OS) degree, continue into the Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) degree track or the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree track. The program also offers a weekend entry-level master’s program for adult learners wishing to enter the field or occupational therapy assistants wishing to earn their master’s. A post-professional OTD program is also available for OT master’s holders looking to move to the doctoral level.

Misericordia University’s Physical Therapy Department a features a six-and-a-half year professional program resulting in a bachelor’s degree and a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree. Students can choose from a variety of disciplines for undergraduate study (pre-DPT). Students accepted into the pre-DPT program as freshmen are guaranteed progression into the DPT program as long as academic criteria are met; there is no need to re-apply to the graduate phase of the program.

The OT and PT programs are currently housed in the university’s Passan Hall, on lower campus at 100 Lake Street. Passan was the former Commonwealth Telephone headquarters and was repurposed in 2011 to house many of the university’s health science programs, including Nursing, Speech-Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy. The relocation of OT and PT to the former Mercy Center will afford new opportunities to utilize the space they leave behind. A campus review is underway to determine the best use of that space.