With a blessing and a ribbon cutting, the “new” Considine Professional Building officially opened at Akron Children’s on Saturday. The outpatient medical building, which originally opened in 2003, has nearly doubled in size after a $84 million expansion and renovation.
The community open house celebrated the newest jewel on the hospital’s main campus. Employees and their children, current and past patients, volunteers and friends all came for the dedication and to see the bright, cheerful space that even looked bright and cheerful on a dreary Akron day.
After the blessing by hospital Chaplain Matthew Tweddle and remarks by CEO Bill Considine, President Grace Wakulchik and Erik Ricci, father of patient Joey Ricci, the ribbon was cut and visitors began to meander through the seven floors, which house clinical programs such as the Neurodevelopmental Science Center, Adolescent Medicine, the Locust Pediatric Care Group, General Surgery, Gastroenterology, and Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Tweddle recalled an old parable about 3 brick layers to remind the us that while we may celebrate shiny new buildings, it is more import to reflect on why we build them – the care of children in what is more of a calling than a job for Akron Children’s employees.
“We are honored to be part of this day,” said Erik Ricci. “Joey [who is now 14] has received his care here since 9 months of age and he has been seen by countless doctors on every floor. Never has anyone had a bad day with him.”
Ricci, fighting tears, said that just recently a hospital pharmacist stayed 2 hours late to prepare a medicine so Joey, who has mitochondrial disease, could be discharged from the hospital and get on his way home sooner.
“We are so blessed to have this place in our backyard,” Ricci said.
Children were captivated by educational “fun” delivered by Juggle Terry. He brought a chicken, a chinchilla, a hedgehog, an albino skunk, an Asian chicken, turtles, and several snakes, including a Burmese python named “Stretchy.”
Dr. U.R. Awesome dazzled with his bubble magic, and kids could enjoy life-size board games, a fall craft and a scavenger hunt.
Once again, Akron Children’s worked closely with partners Welty Construction and Hasenstab Architects on this building, and using an Integrated Project Delivery process, completed the construction early and under budget.