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Helmut Schmidt, Published October 04 2012

Jamestown College breaks ground on building for doctoral program in Fargo

FARGO – Jamestown College is extending its reach to the east.

Despite biting winds from an early snowstorm, the private college broke ground Thursday on a $1.7 million facility in southwest Fargo for its new doctoral program in physical therapy.

The program, which will be the only one of its kind in Fargo, should have no problem finding students, and those students should have no problem finding jobs, said college President Robert Badal.

“As baby boomers continue to play tennis and do stupid things on bicycles,” there will be a need for physical therapists, he said.

Badal said Sanford Health, Essentia Health and Dakota Medical Foundation have made Fargo a regional health care hub, and students will be able to get the hundreds of clinical experiences they will need during the three-year program.

“It was a fairly quick decision,” he said. “We looked at Fargo and realized we have everything we needed.”

The 13,500-square-foot single-story building will go up at 4190 26th Ave. S., east of the Tharaldson Baseball Field complex and just north of the Dakota Medical Foundation building now under construction. Initial dirt work has started.

The college has a lease on the land for 10 years. Some of the cost of the lease is paid by a gift to the college, Badal said.

Erin Klein, a spokeswoman for the Presbyterian college, said the facility should be ready for the first class of 36 students by fall 2013.

An expected 10 full-time faculty will serve more than 100 students in the next three years, said Physical Therapy Program Director Nancy Nuzzo.

“I think we have a great student base here,” she said.

Jamestown College was established in 1883 and has positioned itself as a residential college, so the Fargo campus will be a major step, officials said.

“It really is an exciting opportunity for the students and the college,” said Polly Peterson, vice president for advancement and business affairs.

“The opportunities were exponentially greater for the students in Fargo,” Peterson said.

“I think it’s going to be great,” said former Fargo Mayor Bruce Furness, a 1961 graduate of Jamestown College. “It’s going to fill a niche.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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