UI sports-medicine center to open

BY IAN MARTIN | OCTOBER 08, 2009 7:20 AM

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The UI Hospitals and Clinics will expand once again with its new UI Sports Medicine Center, which set to open this week on the West Campus.

Located in the new $5.9 million Institute of Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation (near the Karro Athletics Hall of Fame and the Hawkeye Recreation Fields on Prairie Meadow Drive), the center will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. The event will mark a new beginning for the sports-medicine department.

“The new building will be a significant improvement for our patients in terms of accessibility,” said Mike Shaffer, a UIHC physical therapist and coordinator for sports rehabilitation. “It is a freestanding center dedicated to orthopedics and sports medicine. Patients will have access to all of their relevant providers in relatively close proximity.”

In its current situation at the UIHC, sports medicine includes numerous subdivisions — most of which are located in different sections of the hospital.

The 26,000-square-foot new location will centralize much of the sports-medicine staff, eliminating the need for patients to travel to different locations for specialized treatment.

“When they come [to the new facility] with a particular problem, because of the multidisciplinary nature of the team, we should be able to address whatever they need,” said Ned Amendola, the director of sports medicine. “It’s like a one-stop shop.”

In addition to Iowa athletes, Iowa City and Coralville residents may receive treatment at the Sports Medicine Center.

Jose Fernandez, the UIHC director of capital management who oversaw much of the project, said the building is “meant to provide services for students at the University of Iowa,” especially “those who might have been injured during recreation.”

While construction began in October of 2008, the building has been a long-term vision in the eyes of department officials.

Amendola said his goal has been to have a separate sports-medicine building since he was hired in 2001. After getting approval from the state Board of Regents in September 2006, the idea started to come to fruition.

The institute also boasts a few firsts for the UIHC and the university. Fernandez said the facility aims for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification.

The new Beckwith Boathouse, which opened last month, is also being considered for certification, and officials are hoping for at least a silver ranking.

The institute will be the first major medical project built away from the Health Sciences Campus.

But with all the excitement, hospital officials said they aren’t concerned about moving to a new building that encompasses all areas of sports medicine.

“Anytime you try to bring together individuals from numerous departments, there are potential complications as you try to build a group culture,” Shaffer said. “This move is for the benefit of our patients, and all decisions should be made with that simple, but important, fact in mind.”

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