By Anne Polta, West Central Tribune, July 19, WILLMAR — Boxes were being unpacked Friday morning as staff settled into the new Rice Rehabilitation Center. Outside, workers were putting the final touches on the building.
The outpatient rehab center opened its doors Monday to patients, who for the first time will find all the services united under one roof.
It’s an exciting step forward for rehab care in the region, said Lynn Stier, director of the Rice Rehab Center.
“I feel like our staff has always provided excellent care, but this facility just gives us an opportunity to bring it to the next level,” she said.
It will help provide a more seamless experience for patients: easier access to multiple services, more opportunities for interdisciplinary care, and even more convenient parking.
“It’s that one-stop shop. That’s what I’m really excited about,” Stier said.
Construction of the building was one of the final pieces in a master facility plan, adopted two years ago by Rice Memorial Hospital, to maximize the use of hospital inpatient and outpatient space to meet changing health care trends and to address some of the fastest growing service areas.
The $5 million facility, on Trott Avenue Southwest in Willmar across the street from Rice Memorial Hospital, contains 12,000 square feet, two gyms — one for adults and one for children — and a therapeutic pool. It also boasts 19 individual treatment rooms and an outdoor playground.
For the first time, services that previously were scattered at five different locations will all be at one site.
Core services provided here are occupational, speech and physical therapy and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Rice Rehab Center offers numerous specialty services as well, from cancer rehabilitation to cognitive assessments to concussion testing. The range of services draws patients not just from Kandiyohi County but from nearly 40 counties across Minnesota.
Architects and planners aimed for a building that’s functional yet welcoming, Stier said.
“A lot of planning went into everything,” she said.
Large windows in the waiting room let in plenty of natural light. A separate corner, furnished with toys, gives children their own place to wait.
The private treatment rooms are “a huge thing for everybody,” Stier said.
The staff is especially proud of the new adult gym, an industrial-modern space for cardio and strength training. Glass walls of windows facing north and west allow patients to walk on the treadmill or pedal an exercise bike while gazing out at the view.
Rehab center staff also are proud of the new warm-water therapeutic pool. It’s a first for the facility, which previously had to lease the pool at the MinnWest Technology Campus in order to offer aqua therapy.
The pool has an adjustable floor that can be mechanically raised to zero depth, allowing individuals with mobility issues to easily enter the water. It lowers to a depth of six feet. The entire floor also can function as a treadmill, and water jets can be turned on to create added resistance.