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Don Knabe Wellness Center Opens at Rancho Los Amigos

L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe with attendees at the opening of the new Wellness Center. Standing with Knabe is Cerritos' Mickey Christianson. Photo courtesy city of Los Angeles.

L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe with attendees at the opening of the new Wellness Center. Standing with Knabe is Cerritos’ Mickey Christianson. Photo courtesy city of Los Angeles.

By Tammye McDuff
The long awaited grand opening of the Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center newest addition, The Don Knabe Wellness Center, officially opened Wednesday, October 12.
  The Center is only the first phase of a $460 million state-of-the-art renovation at Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center, otherwise known as Rancho Rising 2020. One of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitative medicine, the new Center includes a therapy pool with a treadmill in the water to help people with spinal injuries, a remarkable exercise facility designed to help those with disabilities, and yoga and exercise rooms designed specifically for everyone to use. Wheelchair bound patients are able to take Zumba classes, yoga, exercise regularly and use the showers and locker rooms with proper accommodations.
  Downey Mayor Alex Saab stated, “Hope, dignity and perseverance was in the air today as we celebrated Rancho. We are grateful they are part of the Downey family.”
  Knabe has been committed and persistent in the completion of this project. With care for veterans a growing regional need, demand for rehabilitative and other programs at the hospital continue to rise. Knabe called the new facility “the jewel of Los Angeles County’s health care system.”
  Originally founded in 1888 to treat transients and farm workers who could not afford medical care, Rancho Los Amigos served as a facility for mental health patients, polio patients and the homeless. As part of a multi-year effort to bring new life to older structures, remain compliant with seismic codes while preserving local history and architecture, the new facility will continue upgrades through 2020. Phase 2 includes the addition of a central entrance and the refurbishment of the campus’ historic Harriman Building.
  Former Downey Mayor Mario Guerra added “What a beautiful facility! Today, we celebrated the Grand Opening of the Don Knabe Wellness Center. This is the first project to be finished from the Rancho Rising 2020 development project at Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center. I am so proud to have worked with Supervisor Don Knabe for many years and to see his legacy come to life is truly amazing. Rancho Los Amigos is one of the nation’s leading hospitals for rehabilitative medicine and the patients deserve these upgrades.”
  The first phase of construction resulted in a new Wellness & Aquatic Therapy Center, including a new therapy pool, which will increase Rancho Los Amigos’ capacity to provide physical therapy. The second phase includes needed seismic safety and facility renovations, construction of a centralized entrance and refurbishment.  The renovated structures will allow the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services facility to better meet safety, ADA and privacy requirements. Phase two will be completed by 2020.
  Rick Rodriguez, City Council Candidate and Former G.O.O.D. President added, “Today, we celebrated the Grand Opening of the Don Knabe Wellness Center at our loved Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center. I was honored to give the invocation, and join together to give thanks for all the hard work”
  Hershey Cause Communications, the Marketing Company for the Center said they were humbled and proud to see their client reach such an important milestone, “Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center’s evolution into a community center of healing and rehabilitative medicine took a big leap forward today when Fourth District Don Knabe, Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis and hundreds of Rancho patients, staff and community supporters gathered for the official dedication of the Don Knabe Wellness Center.”
  The general contractor for the project is McCarthy Building Company, and Taylor Design is the architect of record. SmithGroup JJR is the designer/planner. The hospital will remain open and fully functional during the five-year construction process, all of which will take place on the 48-acre northern portion of Rancho Los Amigos’ Downey location.