Regional Rehabilitation Center ready in waiting

TUPELO – After 17 months of renovations, Regional Rehabilitation Center is down to brass tacks.
“The building should be substantially complete on Oct. 21,” said Executive Director Kay Mathews.
Physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists and the rest of the staff, who provide therapy services free to adults and children, should begin moving back in the end of the week. Services in the building should resume in early November.
The $2.3 million project broke ground in May 2008 on much-needed repairs. After 45 years, Regional Rehab’s Pegram Drive facility was showing its age.
Plaster was sloughing off the walls. Plumbing and electrical work was out of date. The non-profit agency also got a new entrance and new space for the hydrotherapy pool.
“It’s beautiful,” Mathews said.
To pay for the improvements, Regional Rehab’s capital campaign has raised just shy of $2 million and has about $300,000 left, Mathews said.
The project was originally expected to be completed in early 2009, but the center’s therapy pool proved to be an exceptionally complex project.
“Nothing about it is standard,” Mathews said.
Even though Regional Rehab therapists were out of their building 17 months, that didn’t mean therapy stopped. Traceway Retirement Community graciously let Regional Rehab stay through August – longer than planned – in its temporary quarters at Cedars Health Center, Mathews said.
The therapists had anticipated being back on Pegram Drive in early September, but air conditioning and therapy pool problems kept them from moving in after they packed up and moved out of Cedars. They couldn’t go back to Traceway because the retirement community had started its own renovations for their short-term rehabilitation patients.
Since September, therapists have been on the road, meeting clients who needed to continue their therapy at their homes, schools, day cares or in borrowed spaces, like Calvary Baptist Church, Mathews said. The audiologist has used her portable equipment to complete school assessments. Ability Works offered them storage space, so the staff could access files and equipment for therapy sessions.
And the offers for assistance kept rolling in.
“I’m struck by how the community came together for us,” Mathews said.
Thirteen-year-old Spencer Kirkpatrick, who has Down syndrome, is one of the clients who needed a housecall when orthodontics work interfered with his ability to eat.
“Kay came to the house and devised an action plan,” said dad Kevan Kirkpatrick. “Even though they weren’t in the building, I knew I could call Kay. They do all this at no charge.”

Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or michaela.morris@djournal.com.

Michaela GibsonMorris/NEMS Daily Journal