“Peace, wellness, love, safety and blessing to all who enter.” “Thanks for saving my son and stepdaughter.” “The future of Akron Children’s – amazing!” These were just a few of the inscriptions written in a rainbow of colors on the final beam at a ceremony held on July 25 to recognize the progress made on the Considine Professional Building addition.
Akron Children’s President Grace Wakulchik thanked the approximately 120 employees, donors and trade partners in attendance for their multiple contributions.
“It’s exciting to see the transformation of our Akron campus and be a part of the larger transformation of downtown Akron,” she said. “We want to thank the donors, board members, providers and employees who have made this expansion possible through their dedication to the children and families we serve. We also thank our partners from Welty Construction and Hasenstab Architects who have put countless hours into the design and construction of the building.”
For Jason Geraghty, an employee of BWK Engineering, it was important to be a part of the historic moment.
“I’ve been actively involved in the electrical design of the building, and my firm is also designing the plumbing and mechanical systems, so I want to leave my mark by signing the beam,” he said.
Mark Saurman, senior business analyst in information services, signed the beam on behalf of his whole family.
“This building is going to be here a long time and I want to be a part of its history,” he said.
Paul Becks, project executive with Welty Construction, recognized the over 80 trade professionals – all from northeast Ohio – for their contributions.
Nate Krummel and Danny VanBuskirk, ironworkers from local chapter #17, were the very first steel connectors on the job back when ground broke in February and had the honor of placing the final beam 8 stories up.
See them in action in this aerial footage via a drone.
“Today we are marking a milestone, but we still have 1 year to go,” Paul said, referring to the building’s scheduled completion in April 2018.
Paul relayed an ancient construction tradition of taking an evergreen tree – which represents a symbol from the ground where the process all started – and flying it to the top of the highest beam as an expression of thanks for the safety of the worksite, and a blessing, of sorts, for the building and its future occupants. Although the tree will be planted off site until it can be permanently planted on campus, the beam, with all the signatures and good wishes, will never be covered up.
“People visiting the penthouse mechanical level of the building will be able to view the beam and all the inscriptions,” Paul said.
One attendee, who could rightfully be called the gatekeeper of the Considine building, beamed with pride as he gazed skyward. John Carter, who has worked as a visitor monitor in the Considine building for 8 years, and is an 18-year veteran of Akron Children’s, says he’s looking forward to the completion of the building and enjoying some of its new amenities like an onsite café.
“I enjoy greeting people and helping families get where they need to be,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be part of the change and growth of the hospital.”
The 230,000-square-foot expansion, which costs $84 million, will bring together most of the hospital’s outpatient and subspecialty services under one roof – addressing the growing demand for these services.