TCC Holds Grand Opening for Nate Waters Physical Therapy Clinic

June 26, 2014

Tulsa Community College celebrated the completion of its new Nate Waters Physical Therapy Clinic at TCC’s Metro Campus with a dedication ceremony today. The facility provides clinical learning opportunities for TCC students and is expected to begin seeing patients in August 2014.

“With this facility, we are opening our doors to a greater level of quality care and service within Tulsa, said TCC President Tom McKeon. “This new facility allows TCC Physical Therapy Assistant students to begin their clinical training immediately and provide hands-on care at a reduced cost to patients in underserved or challenged populations.”

McKeon, TCC Board of Regents Chair Ron Looney, TCC Foundation Chair Larry Mocha and TCC Associate Dean of Allied Health Sciences Suzanne Reese spoke during the dedication ceremony. Award-winning author and TCC graduate Clifton Taulbert gave the keynote address and Tulsa City Councilor Karen Gilbert read a City of Tulsa proclamation.

The clinic is named after Nate Waters, a young man who overcame challenges to reach extraordinary goals and inspired the Tulsa community with his determination, passion and service to others before his death in 2013. At the age of 19, a catastrophic injury severed Waters’ spinal cord and left him as a quadriplegic. Despite his paralysis, he got his GED and his associate degree from TCC and eventually his bachelor’s degree from OSU.

While he attended TCC, Waters worked with TCC staff and TCC’s Physical Therapist Assistant program. He slowly began to develop dexterity in his hand in order to use a pointer for the computer keyboard, then a roller ball, and eventually was able to write again. Waters became a community instructor through his work with the students in TCC’s Physical Therapist Assistant program and shared his experiences so students could learn about his disability and be better prepared to help others. Waters was a longtime advocate for the physically challenged, community volunteer and activist. The new clinic will help continue the work he did in facing tremendous challenges, overcoming obstacles and inspiring a community.

Construction started in October on renovating the existing building at 815 S. Cincinnati Avenue. With the new freestanding clinic, TCC will be able to expand services and accommodate more patients from the current four clients served per week to up to 40 clients per week. The Nate Waters Physical Therapy Clinic brings needed space and expanded ability to serve patients, as well as benefits for workforce development.

“TCC sees more than 200 applicants each year for 35 spots in the Physical Therapy Assistant program,” said TCC Foundation Chair Larry Mocha. “The graduates of our program are in demand and that demand is only becoming greater with the aging baby boomers. Plus, we have a large percentage of graduates, roughly 80 percent, that pursue careers in the Tulsa area.”

The nearly $2 million facility was completed with public and private investment, including a public investment by TCC of $768,000 to buy the land and building. More than 85 donors believed in TCC and believed in establishing this clinic and raised more than $1.45 million in private funding. Their names are listed on a donor wall inside the facility.

Major donors to the project include Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation; Anonymous Challenge Grant; Barnett Family Foundation; Founders of Doctors' Hospital; Grace and Franklin Bernsen Foundation; Helmerich Foundation; Hille Family Foundation; Mary Ann Hille; Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation; Janet McGehee; Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation; Ruth Nelson; Osteopathic Founders Foundation; Suzanne Reese & Fred Taylor; Saint Francis Health System; WPX Energy. Additional contributions were made by Bank of America; Jim and Kristin Bender; Benefit Resources; Bryan Close; Gold Medallion Senior Housing & Health Care; Kevin & Julia Klammer; Mary K. Sanditen 1987 Revocable Trust; OSU-Tulsa Library; Williams Companies.