These Walls: Scott Sabolich Prosthetics & Research

Published: Monday, April 20, 2009 7:00 am By: Kelley Chambers

The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY - At Scott Sabolich's building there are S's and curves everywhere.

Scott Sabolich Prosthetics & Research, 10201 N. Broadway Extension, is where amputees go for the chance to live normal lives.

The design elements and curves throughout the building help Sabolich provide a comfortable and functional clinic for his clients.

Many of the features designed to help amputees are not evident at first glance.

In the rounded lobby, with floor-to-ceiling glass and a large fish tank, is a staircase that leads to an observation deck. The stairs are a training tool.

There are sets of seven steps topped by landings on the staircase.

Someone who has lost a leg uses seven steps when beginning training with their prosthetic.

The steps also have a no-slip carpet, and railings are designed to mimic the parallel bars in each patient room.

"This is my teaching area," Sabolich said while pointing up the staircase. "Everyone has to learn how to walk with their prosthesis on the stairs."

A couch and an antique telescope await those who walk to the top, where visitors are welcomed with sweeping views in three directions.

Hanging in the lobby is an iron sculpture of a juggler. Sabolich said the piece was commissioned to represent how each person has to juggle the challenges of everyday life.

A 450-gallon fish tank divides the lobby from the hallway and patient rooms.

The patient rooms could double as upscale hotel rooms if not for the parallel bars running the length of each room. Each room has a view that looks out over a small lake.

The Sabolich family has been in the prosthetics business since the 1940s. Scott Sabolich is the third generation to run a prosthetics business and research center.

Over the years, the Sabolich clinics have been in spaces that were adapted to their needs.

"This is the first time we have ever put a facility together from the ground up," Sabolich said.

Architect Allen Brown designed the 21,000-square-foot building, which was completed in 2004. The lab accounts for 9,000 square feet. There technicians build each patient's prosthesis to be an exact fit and add lifelike feature to the limbs like skin tone, veins, hair and tattoos. Portals in the ceiling allow natural light into the lab, so technicians can gauge how the limbs will look in the light of day.

Sabolich said there are 3,000 new amputees each week in the U.S. His office sees 30 to 35 patients every day during the week. Many are from Oklahoma, but people also come from around the country and overseas.

In designing the center, Sabolich wanted it to be functional but not have a medical look and feel. He said amputees spend enough time in square rooms and square buildings as they get care and treatment. The Sabolich clinic is designed for comfort and a place where amputees can walk the halls, climb stairs and stroll around the lake.

"Scott Sabolich is SS, so everything is curved," Sabolich said. "There are curves all over the place."

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