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Jan. 14, 2020
Dr. Jonathan Buchanan knew the sort of place he wanted to work. But, after looking nationwide, he wasn’t sure it existed.
That changed when he discovered Avera, where leaders shared the same vision for a space that would combine sports medicine with physical therapy, athletic training, sports space and public fitness options.
“I came to Avera Orthopedics because of this building,” said Buchanan, a nonoperative sports medicine physician who moved from Oregon, where he served as a team doctor for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.
The Avera Human Performance Center, which opened this month, was his 60,000-square-foot drawing card to Sioux Falls.
“This is my baby,” he said. “I am a firm believer in the union between rehabilitation, prevention and treatment of sports injuries.”
The $14 million center on the southwest side of the Avera on Louise campus at 69th Street and Louise Avenue offers all that and more.
“From what I’ve seen, there’s nothing quite like this,” Buchanan said. “There are a couple areas trying to do something similar but not like this. Most have PT (physical therapy) and the doctor’s office. Or they have a big sports complex with a little bit of PT and maybe a trainer. This is unique. This isn’t a sports complex where just athletes go. It’s where humans can go to perform better.”
A sports medicine space includes a clinic offering nonoperative treatment, biomechanical evaluations and specialized instructions after an injury or concussion.
A modern therapy gym includes an antigravity treadmill, Pilates equipment, isokinetic balance equipment, a gait-analysis treadmill with a 3D motion-capture system, as well as an underwater treadmill and an aquatic therapy pool.
On some equipment, “you can run with 5 or 10 percent of your body weight, and you’re not feeling the pounding anymore, and then you can get back up to 100 percent,” Buchanan said.
On others, force plates on the ground help test how athletes are landing on the floor and whether they are leaving themselves susceptible to injury.
“It’s a very natural transition from my office to PT to Athletic Republic (which offers athletic training) and onto the playing field,” Buchanan said.
In addition to the nonoperative orthopedics clinic, there is an orthopedic urgent care center for after-hours care, along with seven Avera physical therapists and three sports physical therapists that share space with the Avera Acceleration program.
“The Avera Acceleration program specialists will help people improve their overall human performance – just general performance whether it’s running, cycling, high school athletes,” said Jason Askew, executive director of Avera Sports.
“And then there’s just general overall fitness for really anyone looking to work out.”
A gym provides space for seven volleyball courts and is the new home of the Avera Sports Kairos elite volleyball program, which reaches 3,500 athletes and doesn’t have its own physical location. It previously rented space in Harrisburg.
“Last year we had 22 teams, and this year we’re over 32 teams ages 10 to 18,” Askew said. “It’s awesome to have them with us and give them the space to expand their program. It’s multiuse but the flooring of choice for volleyball. It’s a great surface. It’s safe and easier on the legs.”
The general public can use many areas of the building. There is a training room for movement classes such as yoga, Pilates, tai chi and more. It will be home to AR-FIT classes for active adults of all ages.
A glassed-in cycling studio can be used by anyone from triathlon competitors to hobbyists. There’s an option to bring in your own bike and put it on the trainer for customized workouts and courses.
”We’re also seeing some who want to ride consistently year round, so they can get an hour or hour-and-a-half ride in, and they’re not worried about traffic or wind or rain,” Askew said. “We have a very nice cycling studio.”
A nutrition bar offering healthy dining options is scheduled to open in the next month or two.
And there has been enough demand in some areas that Avera already is looking at a potential second phase, Askew said.
Early use of the building has been “a lot of fun,” he added. “There’s been a lot of good conversation. If the therapist has a question, the physician is right around the corner and vice versa. If the physician has thoughts on therapy or changes, they’re right around the corner and can address it on the fly.”
As for the doctor lured by the building to Avera, Buchanan said that after a long time envisioning the space, he’s sold on it.
“I’m super pleased. It’s better than I anticipated,” he said. “Now that it’s all together, it’s beautiful.”
A public open house for the Avera Human Performance Center will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19.
Search far and wide — and one doctor did — and you likely won’t find anything quite like the new Avera Human Performance Center.