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Ribbon cutting ceremony marks completion of new Occupational and Physical Therapy Facility

Ribbon cutting ceremony marks completion of new Occupational and Physical Therapy Facility

Ribbon cutting ceremony marks completion of new Occupational and Physical Therapy Facility

Misericordia University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sunday, April 14 for a newly renovated facility to support the institution’s premiere Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) Programs. The event marked the completion and official opening of the 38,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art space in a portion of the former Mercy Center assisted living and long-term care facility immediately contiguous to campus, a testament to the university's commitment to its popular Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) programs and the university’s commitment to the mission of the Religious Sisters of Mercy in service to others. 

The $8.5 million renovation started in March 2023 and finished in January 2024 facilitated by contractor Poole Anderson of State College and architect HC Architects of Scranton. The interior walls, ceilings, and mechanical systems were demolished to create a brand-new center filled with advanced learning, studying and gathering spaces. The facility features separate and specially designed spaces for both the OT and PT 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, a pediatric lab, an acute care lab, student lounges and flexible study rooms, capstone centers, faculty offices, and clinic spaces where students and faculty will engage the community.

The ceremony commenced with remarks from university President Daniel J. Myers, Ph.D., who highlighted the significance of the new facility for the students. “Today is also a day to thank our partners in this exciting project, the Sisters of Mercy who have offered to share this wonderful space with us. There is no better way to help us carry on their mission than by ensuring that the 350 students in these two critically needed programs have the technology and clinical tools they need to achieve great things,” says Myers.

Lori Charney, OTD, associate professor and OT department chair, emphasized the significance from her perspective as an educator. “Our students will have access to cutting-edge equipment, modern teaching technology in the classrooms, and specialized labs that will enable them to engage in hands-on learning, community service, research opportunities and doctoral capstone projects,” she said.

Kristen Karnish, PT, D.Ed., associate professor and PT department chair, added to Charney’s emphasis and explained the vast amount of technology in the building. “As you tour, you will see technology and equipment that allow us to be truly student-centered in our education including cameras and multiple screens for students to have an easy view of skills being demonstrated and to engage in presented material; also, you will see the space and equipment that enables us to simulate the physical therapy outpatient clinic, hospital, nursing home, and home care settings,” added Karnish.

Greg Collins, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, orchestrated the ribbon cutting line-up, which included President Myers; David Rehm, Ph.D., vice president of Academic Affairs; Barbara Schwartz-Bechet, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Sciences and Education; Sister Carol Gallagher, Board of Trustees; Charney; and Karnish.

The new OT/PT facility was made possible by the support of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Daniel J. Myers, Mark Van Etten, vice president of Finance and Administration, and Scott Gillam, project manager, Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, who were involved in the planning and construction of the new facility. Guests from the community as well as students, faculty, Sisters of Mercy, and staff enjoyed light refreshments and personal tours following the ceremony.

More information about the new OT/PT facility, including photos of this impressive space, is available online at www.misericordia.edu.

Photo Caption: From left to right: Dr. Lori Charney, Occupational Therapy; Greg Collins, vice chair of the Board of Trustees; Dr. David Rehm, vice president of Academic Affairs; Dr. Barbara Schwartz-Bechet, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Education; President Daniel J. Myers; Sister Carol Gallagher, Board of Trustees; and Dr. Kristen Karnish, Physical Therapy.