Mountain Valley Therapy expanding

By Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer November 23, 2011 09:32 pm

Construction workers set a truss in place over Mountain Valley Therapy’s new fitness facility last week. The facility, with strengthening and conditioning equipment, a warm water pool, personal training and more, is slated to open in January. CHRIS BAXTER / The Observer
Construction workers set a truss in place over Mountain Valley Therapy’s new fitness facility last week. The facility, with strengthening and conditioning equipment, a warm water pool, personal training and more, is slated to open in January. CHRIS BAXTER / The Observer

9,000-square-foot addition will feature health and fitness center

A La Grande clinic offering physical and occupational therapy services is growing by a big leap, doubling thae size of its building to add a health and fitness center.

Mountain Valley Therapy at 2519 Cove Ave. started work on a 9,000-square-foot addition this fall. With the walls up last week, trusses were set in place and workers started nailing down the roof. The fitness center opening is slated for January.

 “We do have a fitness room now, but compared to what’s going in, it’s very restricted in terms of equipment and space,” said Shala Hewitt, Mountain Valley Therapy’s program manager.

Mountain Valley Therapy is a full service rehabilitation clinic established by partners David Ebel, James Gorham and Diane Warnock in 1999.

In the beginning it employed just five people, but today the number has risen to 25 including physical therapists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers and more.

Staff treats a wide range of disorders, and offers athletic training, pre-employment screening and a wellness program.

Other health care providers in the facility include Blue Mountain Acupuncture owned by Kevin March, and Alternative Choice for Chronic Pain owned by Dr. Timothy Schoenfelder.

In September, Mountain Valley hired Matt Mitchell, a personal trainer with eight years experience, to oversee the new fitness facility. Mitchell said he’s excited about what lies ahead.

“It seems like the owners have a very clear vision of where they want to go,” Mitchell said. He said the center will feature top-of-the-line strengthening and conditioning equipment, a warm water pool, locker rooms with saunas, and a child watch center.

 Staff will offer plenty of personal guidance and instruction. In addition to personal training, the facility will offer group exercise and yoga    classes, plus nutritional meal planning.

“We want this to be considered a total wellness center,” he said.

With the expansion, La Grande has at least three major fitness centers, including Anytime Fitness on Island Avenue and Grande Ronde Fitness Club on Adams Avenue. Hewitt said she thinks each one is unique, appealing to different wants and needs.

“I think all the clubs strive for a different atmosphere. Grande Ronde has the club atmosphere, and Anytime offers 24-hour service. Our focus will be guided wellness,” she said.

Added Mitchell, “We’re going to ask all of our employees to know everyone by their first names.”

Hewitt said she doesn’t  know exactly how much money the owners spent on the addition, but does know it’s a substantial investment.

Summit Construction is the project’s lead contractor. Most of the sub-contracting was done by local companies as well.

“They (the owners) are sparing no expense so it gets everything it needs,” Hewitt said.

Though construction likely will be complete in January, the opening day isn’t set yet.

For information on membership, call Hewitt or Mitchell at 541-962-0830.