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W.Va. couple wants to share wellness center with the community

July 31, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Rankin Physical Therapy is growing into a new building and expanding to include a wellness and recreation center.

Built on 2 1/2 acres on Southridge Drive behind the West Virginia State Police barrack in Berkeley Springs, the facility is expected to open in early January.

Owner Kelly Rankin said he saw the need for a preventive-care and comprehensive wellness program in Berkeley Springs.

The 17,890-square-foot building will include a gym, regulation-size basketball court for intramural sports, space for recreational dance classes and yoga and exercise classes, "and a lot more," Rankin said.

"We want it as a center for the community," he said.

A fitness space of 4,000 square feet is planned, including a separate space for women who want to work out only with other women.

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The new facility will include a therapeutic heated pool with two underwater treadmills, he said.

"Buoying from the water makes an easier workout because water helps to keep stress off the knees and legs without losing the benefit of a good cardio workout," Rankin said.

"We would like a nutritionist to teach healthy wellness classes like lessons on healthy eating," he said, and he wants a personal trainer to run the gym.

"We aim to give our athletes a chance to work out in a facility all year-round. Instruction and personal attention will be paid to all ages," he said.

This will be a community-driven facility, Rankin said.

"We want to provide after-school activities. A multipurpose space will be available, and we will work with the schools," he said.

"I want feedback from everyone in the community about what they would like the facility to offer," Rankin said.

Rankin, 36, received his master's degree in physical therapy from West Virginia University in 1997. He's a native of Berkeley Springs and a Berkeley Springs High School graduate.

In 2001, Rankin started his own physical therapy clinic in Berkeley Springs and since 2002, the clinic has been operating at its current address on U.S. 522 south, he said.

"We have grown to three P.T's and one licensed P.T. assistant" in the Berkeley Springs clinic, he said. He also owns Shenandoah Valley Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine in Martinsburg, W.Va. All told, he has 17 full-time employees.

His wife, Jennifer Rankin, is the business manager for both Rankin clinics.

Rankin wants to give back to this community. About one year ago, he was injured while mountain biking and flipped the bike off a ramp jump. He injured his spinal cord and is paralyzed from the chest down.

Building the new facility inspires him, he said.

"Life is really about overcoming obstacles, and life is what you make it. We are in a community that supports us," he said.

"From young to old, we want to offer anything for recreation and physical needs," Rankin said.

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