Health Care

Akron Children’s Tops Off $18.6M Expansion Project

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BOARDMAN, Oho – Patients and their families at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley campus here can expect to find a clubhouse instead of patient room. And areas called tree house floors, sandboxes and gardens.

It’s part of a design philosophy that Akron Children’s president and CEO, Bill Considine, says guides expansion at the $18.6 million addition to Building A at the Beeghly campus.

Considine joined local management, staff, patents and guests at the topping-off-ceremony Wednesday for the 51,000-square-foot addition. A crane from Kelley Steel erectors in Cleveland hoisted a white-painted beam — signed by staff and patients, and adorned with an evergreen tree and American flag – up to ironworkers to be set in place.

The two-story addition will offer 47 exam rooms and other support rooms when completed, said Sharon Hrina, vice president of Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.

Akron Children’s will consolidate several specialties now at the McClurg Road campus to Beeghly, along with the primary care offices, into one building.

“We will be able to provide increased access to all the services along with a collaborative work team, which is very exciting when the physicians can interact with each other and actually share information between them,” Hrina said.

Specialties that will relocate are the heart center, orthopedics, sports medicine, endocrinology and psychiatry. “A new sports medicine therapy department will be here to focus on some of the new issues that we’re having with brain injury and concussion therapy,” she added.

The design had two objectives, one being to ensure “that we were designing what we did through the eyes of a child,” Considine said.

“When you design through the eyes of a child, you don’t call a patient room a patient room. You call it a clubhouse. You start thinking about what a child might identify with. And when you do that it excites everybody,” he said.

The ever-increasing number of patient drove the expansion, Considine said.

Visits to the emergency department at Beeghly in 2015 totaled 32,154, up 4% from 2014, according to statistics Akron Children’s provided. During the first four months of this year, such visits at the campus were 16.4% higher than the same period last year. Patient volume in specialties such as gastroenterology and sports medicine rose more than 200% in 2015 over 2014.

Construction is going very well, with minimal disruption to the hospital’s operations, Hrina said.

“Our project is definitely on time,” she declared. “Through the summer they’ll be putting up walls and start construction inside.” The building itself should be complete by next April and to begin operations by July.

Construction is “going beautifully,” affirmed Eric Harmon, general superintendent at Murphy Contracting Co., Youngstown.

The job represents “more than concrete and steel” to the men and women working on the project, he remarked.

“The construction and engineering teams both live and work in the Mahoning Valley,” he said. “It is an investment in our community and in our children’s lives.”

Pictured: William Considine and Sharon Hrina.Akron Children’s

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.