A first look inside Akron Children’s new N. Canton facility

By Tim Botos 
CantonRep.com staff writer 

Posted May 20, 2019 at 5:01 PM

The decor features light, bright colors, with plenty of windows, and art created by local students.

NORTH CANTON As a child — before she grew up to become a pediatrician — Dr. Kelly Casper loved sledding on the hill above Glenwood Street SW near Whipple Avenue NW.

“My parents lived that direction,” she said, pointing a finger from the top of that same hill.

That once-empty hill is now home to a new 38,000 square-foot, $13 million Akron Children’s Health Center. The facility, which will offer primary and specialty care and a host of rehabilitation services, begins accepting patients on Tuesday.

And Casper will be right at home. She’s one of six staff pediatricians in the primary care section, where physicians handle visits from sick children and well-child checks.

The new Akron Children’s Hospital Health Center in North Canton is slated to start seeing patients Tuesday. (CantonRep.com / Julie Vennitti)

Lisa Aurilia, chief operating officer of Akron Children’s Hospital, talks about the new North Canton Health Center during a tour Monday. (CantonRep.com / Julie Vennitti)

Dr. Kelly Casper helps to lead a tour at the new Akron Children’s Hospital Health Center in North Canton. (CantonRep.com / Julie Vennitti)

A look inside the Akron Children’s Hospital Health Center in North Canton. (CantonRep.com / Julie Vennitti)

Nicole Clester, OTR-L, talks about the Sensory Integration room during a tour at Akron Children’s Hospital North Canton Health Center Monday, May 20, 2019. (CantonRep.com / Julie Vennitti)

A tour was held Monday as last-minute preparations continued for the opening of new Akron Children’s Hospital Health Center in North Canton. (CantonRep.com / Julie Vennitti)

The center is practically a hospital, outfitted with a lab and X-ray area, a dozen specialists to begin with and a team of physical, occupational and speech therapists.

“It’s a one-stop easy shop for all of our families,” explained Lisa Aurilio, chief operating officer at Akron Children’s Hospital, as she guided a media tour on Monday.

The facility is the result of multiple collaborations:

  • Developer A. Altman Co. donated the building to Akron Children’s. The main lobby is named after Robert C. and Ruth E. Altman, parents of the third generation of Altman family that now runs the business.
  • The Timken Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to the project. As a thank-you, the proper name of the structure is Timken Foundation Building at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Health Center, North Canton.
  • Aultman Hospital provided Akron Children’s a long-term lease for the land, which is situated on the Aultman North campus.
  • The city of North Canton approved a 10-year Industrial and Commercial Job Creation Incentive Grant. Part of that deal enables Akron Children’s to recoup about 62 percent of income taxes it pays during that span.

The building’s decor (light, bright colors, with plenty of windows, and art created by local students) is modeled after the interior design of the hospital in Akron.

Upon entering the lobby of the three-floor building, visitors will see a familiar sculpture. Artist George Rhoads created a smaller version of the hospital’s signature audio-kinetic “Ball Machine.” The North Canton Center version is called “Incrediball Circus 2.”

The Center will employ about 250 people, with 100 there at any given time and day.

“This project is a wonderful example of the spirit of philanthropy and collaboration that makes Stark County such a great place to live and work,” Akron Children’s President and Chief Executive Officer Grace Wakulchik said in a media release.

The center is the second of three scheduled to open this year. The Mansfield Health Center opened in March; Boston Heights, in northern Summit County, is to be completed in September.

Founded in 1890, Akron Children’s operates two hospitals in Northeast Ohio, more than 60 urgent, primary and specialty care locations and partners with other health systems to bring neonatal and pediatric care to patients in their community hospitals.

Reach Tim at 330-580-8333 or tim.botos@cantonrep.com.
On Twitter: @tbotosREP

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