LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Spalding University will soon add a physical therapy program to its curriculum. 

According to a news release from the university, Spalding plans to launch its entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in a hybrid format combining online lecture courses and in-person laboratory experiences. A former car dealership at 961 South Third Street is being transformed to house the state-of-the-art facility.

The new program has already been approved by the university's regional accrediting body -- the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The $7 million project is one of the largest capital projects in the 100-year history of Spalding's downtown campus. And the university is still hoping donors from the community will help defray the cost. They say it's an investment in future jobs -- and potentially Louisville's economy.

Spalding has appointed Dr. Elisa Zuber as the inaugural Chair of the new School of Physical Therapy as well as Director of the DPT program. She brings more than 35 years of experience in physical therapy education with an expertise in developing new programs. 

"One of the things we hope will happen is they'll come to Spalding and get their degree and potentially go on to a residency or fellowship and decide to stay and practice in Louisville," Zuber said. 

Caroline Heine, Spalding's Chief Advancement Officer says demand for jobs in the physical therapy field is going to continue to grow. 

"There are expected to be over 47,000 new jobs in physical therapy in the country over the next 10 years," Heine said. "At Spalding, we will prepare students to succeed in their physical therapy careers while helping them learn appreciation for justice and equity in healthcare."

The new Spalding School of Physical Therapy also plans to create a post-doctoral residency and fellowship in pediatric PT, as well as forming partnerships with pediatric clinicians to provide mentoring opportunities for practitioners who want to teach in a DPT program.

The application period for the new PT program is set to open June 15, 2021, but students may learn about the program and request more information by CLICKING HERE

The first classes are set to start in August of 2022.

Spalding University will be one of only four schools in the state that offers a physical therapy program. 

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