In keeping with Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro’s mission for academics and athletics to rise together, the new Physical Therapy and Intercollegiate Athletics Building officially opened Tuesday, Sept. 15, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The 22,000-square-foot building, located at Barstow Avenue and Campus Drive, will house the Department of Physical Therapy, as well as offices for men’s and women’s basketball, softball and volleyball staff.
The first floor of the two-story building, adjacent to the Aquatics Center, will serve as a dedicated space for physical therapy offices and laboratories, which were previously spread throughout several buildings on campus. Dr. Peggy Trueblood, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, said the addition of the new building will put Fresno State’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program on the map.
“We have a state-of-the-art teaching facility with all of the latest equipment and resources available to our faculty, students and staff,” Trueblood said. “This is important as it allows us to keep up with contemporary clinical practice and gives us the ability to expand in other key areas such as research and on-campus clinical practice.”
As of January 2015, students must hold a doctoral degree to become a licensed physical therapist according to the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education. Of 14 accredited physical therapy programs in the state, the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Fresno State is the only one of its kind in Central California. Since 2012, an average of 32 students have been enrolled each year into the three-year program. The inaugural class graduated this past spring.
The facility includes two teaching laboratories equipped with smart classroom features, conference rooms to present research, a locker room and a variety of faculty and administrative offices.
“Students will be in an optimal learning environment for the program with 21st century technology,” Trueblood said. “This will allow more accessibility in bringing patients into the classroom for student learning. It will also allow us to have an excellent venue to teach advanced continuing education for local clinicians.”
Having physical therapy and athletics under one roof will be an added bonus, said Huy Vo, a third-year student from Garden Grove.
“The sharing of the building with athletics…will encourage the relationship and interaction between athletics and physical therapy, as the two fields overlap in regard to sports injuries, rehabilitation and athletic performance,” Vo said.
College of Health and Human Services Dean Jody Hironaka-Juteau said the proximity of the two departments will provide an opportunity to further strengthen and grow collaboration.
Fresno State athletics will be housed on the second floor, with new offices, meeting space and team facilities.
“Our new offices are incredible,” said Rodney Terry, Fresno State’s head men’s basketball coach. “We are very appreciative of the support our program receives from the University and community. This is wonderful for our coaches and student-athletes to have a place like this to call home.”
Softball coach Trisha Ford agreed.
“We are excited to move in to such a beautiful building,” Ford said. “We take great pride in providing the best experience for our student-athletes and having elite facilities to use on a daily basis.”