Over more than a century, Akron Children’s Hospital has evolved from its origins as a simple day nursery to the biggest network of pediatric healthcare services in northeast Ohio. Its practitioners operate across more than 80 sites, including 2 hospitals and 23 surgeries, and receive more than 800,000 patient visits each year.
But the story doesn’t end there. In 2012, faced with surging demand for its services, and committed to treating all patients, regardless of ability to pay, Akron launched a US$180 million expansion of its main campus. The HKS-designed project, completed in 2015, includes a seven-storey critical care tower and parking garage, plus an extension to the Ronald McDonald House of Akron – a vital service that allows sick children to stay with their families in a home-like environment while undergoing hospital treatment.
Families were central to the design of the new hospital tower, which includes a new emergency department and outpatient surgery, plus a high-risk obstetrics ward and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Private rooms with sofas and bathrooms boost comfort for relatives in the NICU, while large windows throughout the building increase natural light levels and connection with the outdoors. Even the artwork proves the hospital’s dedication to its patients: 10,000 drawings by guests of all ages have been turned into a mosaic to mark the facility’s birthday.
Building a Lean Hospital Facility
Our team provided building services to this hugely successful project, which came in ahead of schedule and under budget thanks to close attention to detail, strong communication across the team and our approach balancing cost, performance and sustainability. Tasked with improving operational flows in the facility, our engineers created full-scale mock-ups of hospital rooms and asked clinical staff and volunteers to simulate procedures. This way, we were able to make sure the layout was exactly as it needed to be for maximum efficiency and comfort. A central energy plant with a state-of-the-art chilled water system also ensures this vital building continues to run smoothly. The client was so inspired by the project and the lean process lead by the design team, they wrote a book about it called L3: Building a Lean Hospital Facility.
We were awarded Project of the Year Category D in 2016 for this hospital. Watch this video to learn more about how we responded to the client’s need of eliminating waste and increasing operational flow.