The Altru Medical Fitness Center will close Oct. 1 and shift services to the downtown Grand Forks YMCA to make room for new clinics.
The shift is part of Altru's long-range redesign that aims to bring back clinical space lost during a 2016 structural failure. Altru Health Administrator Jill Wilson said space at Altru's south campus was reorganized and clinics were moved there after a large crack in the main campus clinic caused an emergency closure.
The Medical Fitness Center, 1300 Columbia Road, will be redesigned to include an OBGYN clinic, breast center and ultrasound department, Wilson said. The main floor will continue to house orthotics and prosthetics, neurology and neurosurgery.
Wilson said the clinics will be operational by mid 2019.
The fitness center is designed to promote wellness and rehabilitation for the general public as well as specialized care for those suffering from chronic illnesses, Wilson said. The same services will be available at the YMCA, 215 N. Seventh St., and Wilson said they are working to merge the staff.
Many of the programs were already offered at the YMCA and Wilson said Altru's existing partnership with them makes for a "natural fit."
The nearly 300 members will be able to sign up for the medical fitness program or YMCA membership if they want to have access to all the YMCA amenities.
Wilson said Altru is working with the YMCA to keep prices relatively consistent. A monthly membership at the YMCA currently costs $55 for an adult and a medical fitness center membership is $35.
The therapeutic pool is the only feature that will vanish during the move, but Wilson said
members will still have access to a pool.
Therapeutic pools aid people with mobility issues or arthritis because the warm water is calming and can relieve pain. Wilson said the pools aren't tolerable to all because of the warm temperatures.
The Altru Medical Fitness Center's therapeutic pool is the only one in the state, Wilson said. The use of the pools has declined during the last 10 years because costs to operate are high and the number of people using them is low. Wilson said Altru is hoping to implement a warmer temperature at the YMCA pool to meet the fitness center patients' needs without disrupting YMCA members.
Altru sent letters to fitness center members this week announcing the partnership. Wilson said there hasn't been much feedback from the public but the changes have been welcomed by staff.
"Knowing that much of the programming was already offered at the Y and that Altru has a long-standing partnership with the Y, we anticipate it to be received very positively," Wilson said.