CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will see a new sports medicine facility on its campus this year, but the center will not just be for students and athletes but also for the general public.
Samaritan Health Services will pay for the $4 million facility and will operate it on land that it will lease from OSU. Starting later this month, construction will start on the site which is located on SW 30th St. next to the Truax Indoor Practice Facility and Reser Stadium.
“It’ll be bigger than 17,000 square feet; two stories,” said Doug Aukerman, the Director of Sports Medicine for Samaritan Health Services. “It’s designed to have a nice open feel and it will be a state of the art building.”
Aukerman says now, though athletes receive physical therapy care on campus, if they need any special treatment, they need to go elsewhere.
“I had a couple knee injuries while I was here,” said former Beaver basketball player Kyle Bjornstad. “It’s inconvenient having to go across town several times a week for your doctor appointments while you’re injured, and you still have to go to practice and all your classes and do your day-to-day activities.”
Bjornstad says if anything, the new facility will bring convenience for OSU athletes.
“I think it’s two-fold. I think it’s great. I think it’s definitely something you wish you would have had while you were here.”
Samaritan is teaming up with OSU not only to provide the care for the community, but to also create teaching and research opportunities for students in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
“It’ll provide opportunities to do some clinical research and clinical education, which will further enhance the health care that we deliver to this area for years to come,” Aukerman said.
A former University of Alabama football player, Hardie Buck, is now working at OSU and is excited to see the new facility once it opens.
“I was a walk-on at Alabama. I was a wide-receiver to play special teams.”
Buck is now a graduate assistant helping with special teams for OSU’s football program. He’s noticed a care between the two Universities he has studied at.
“When I was at Alabama, I had to get a bunch of MRIs and surgeries and I had to go to Birmingham, which is about 45 minutes to an hour away. Which is fine, but this new center is going to be awesome.”
Later this year, the center will only be minutes away from athletes, and open to the rest of the public.
“We’ll be able to bring that same health care to the general community here in the Valley using the same physicians and providers we’re using for the student athletes,” Aukerman said.
Construction for the facility is scheduled to start this month and should be opening by the end of the year. The center is going up in the parking lot area near Reser, and Samaritan says though it doesn’t know where yet, it will be making up all the lost parking spaces.
“I’m so excited for our athletes of today that they’re going to be able to have that,” Bjornstad said.