Mercy Health Breaks Ground on $14.5M Howland Center

HOWLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Mercy Health-Youngstown’s $14.5 million Howland Medical Center is part of a strategy to reach farther into the communities of Mercy’s core hospitals, the president and CEO of the health system said Tuesday.

Mercy Health-Youngstown has several ambulatory projects in the works, “not all of which are finalized as to site … just a lot of things going on that over the next few years will come to fruition as we move outside the hospital walls and get out in the community to provide care,” said Donald Kline, president and CEO.

The health-care system broke ground Tuesday morning to build the 50,000-square-foot Howland Medical Center on state Route 46.

The center will house primary care physicians as well as specialists such as general and orthopedic surgeons, a diagnostic imaging laboratory and physical therapy, said Kathy Cook, president of St. Joseph Warren Hospital. The Howland center will operate as part of the St. Joseph community, she said.

The central location for services will offer a continuum of care “so we can ensure that patients are getting everything they need at one site,” she said.

“It gets to the core of population health,” added Kline, who became Mercy president and CEO three months ago. When individuals are hospitalized, their disease or other issues are at an advanced stage.

Even as Mercy pursues plans to reach out in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, Kline said, the system would stay with its “core bedrock” at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. “We’ve got some exciting things going on with Youngstown State University on partnerships there as well. So we’re trying to cover the full breadth of the Valley that we serve,” he said.

Slated to open next April 1, the Howland medical center will be built by Jack Gibson Construction Co., Warren. It will combine existing and new services, spokeswoman Sally Hammel said.

In the design of the building is newer technology such as self-registration stations and high windows, said project architect Zhen Wang. Wang is with Strollo Architects, which designed the building. The enhanced lighting will contribute to energy efficiency and help patients and physicians feel more like they’re connected to the outside.

“We want to provide a more comfortable environment for the patient,” Wang remarked.

The Howland center has been “a work in progress” since December 2014, Kline said during remarks before ground was broken. He was quick to credit his predecessor, Robert Shroder, who retired earlier this year.

Betty Jo Licata, chairwoman of the Mercy Health-Youngstown Board of Trustees, said nothing is more exciting than building a new structure.

“But what’s even more exciting is knowing what will go on in that facility and how it will serve the residents of Howland and Trumbull County,” she continued. “This project is a reflection of Mercy Health’s ongoing mission and our commitment to serving the health-care needs of the Mahoning Valley,” she said.

Rick Clark, chairman of Howland Township trustees, described the project as “an important milestone” for the township and the county.

“It represents a significant investment in our community and will further our region’s economic growth, but most importantly it will bring expanded medical services directly to the citizens of our community to better serve their health-care needs,” he said.

Pictured: Don Kline, CEO Mercy Health Youngstown, Rod Neil, Mercy Health  Physicians Associates chief operating officer, John Gibson Jr., CEO of Jack Gibson Construction Co., and James Kravec, chief clinical officer Mercy Health Youngstown.

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