UMN Rec Center opens new physical therapy office

The Recreation and Wellness Center opened an office for physical therapy appointments through Boynton last week.

Therapist Joseph Schoess poses for a portrait inside the new physical therapy room at the University Recreation and Wellness Center on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

Easton Green

Therapist Joseph Schoess poses for a portrait inside the new physical therapy room at the University Recreation and Wellness Center on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

Olivia Johnson

Boynton Health opened a third location for physical therapy at the Recreation and Wellness Center last week to offer more appointment times for students.

Four therapists share an office to see patients on the building’s main floor in addition to the existing St. Paul and Boynton locations.

Jamie Suchy, the allied health director and a physical therapist at Boynton, said he’s wanted physical therapy to be a part of the RecWell facility since he started 10 years ago, but couldn’t make it work until this year.

“Starting last year, we renewed conversations with the RecWell management,” Suchy said. “We were able to … make something work.”

He said an advantage of the new location is its proximity to exercise equipment and personal trainers for patients ready to exercise or train normally.

After completing physical therapy, Suchy said patients are encouraged to stay active or follow an exercise plan.

“Some people need a little more help with that,” he said. “They’re ready from a PT standpoint, but they just don’t feel ready to do that on their own yet, and that’s where someone like a personal trainer is a great handoff.”

Suchy said that he hopes to develop programming with personal trainers for these types of patients.

Since the location’s opening, he said appointments have been full, and Boynton hopes to hire additional staff in the fall.

“Physical therapy and exercise and wellness go hand-in-hand,” Suchy said. “Being in an area like the Rec Center … allows us to have more interactions.”

Dave Golden, Boynton’s communications director, said the location frees up space and allows more students to access physical therapy services, which see about 5,000 patients each year.

“We love working over in the new facility,” he said. “It’s just a nice collaboration.”

Lisa Lemler, associate director for wellness at the University, said she discussed the collaboration with Suchy for the last six years. She said since the opening of the new RecWell facility four years ago, the possibility of a physical therapy office became more realistic.

“I think it makes sense for both of us,” Lemler said. “For RecWell … we feel like it’s under the umbrella of what we do and what we should offer if we’re really talking about being a wellness provider to campus.”