Health care providers to build pediatric primary care facility in North Canton.

NORTH CANTON  Aultman Hospital and Akron Children's Hospital will partner on construction of a pediatric care facility off Whipple Avenue NW.

Akron Children's North Canton Health Center will be part of a campus that includes the Aultman Medical Group's diagnostic center and the former North Canton Medical Foundation.

The $16 million, three-story, 38,000-square-foot facility will be built into the hillside facing Glenwood Street SW, just east of the Whipple Avenue NW intersection. Ground will be broken soon and work should be finished by late next year.

Akron Children's has entered a 90-year lease with Aultman Hospital for the parcel when the facility will be built. Canton-based A. Altman Co., which has no connection to the hospital, is building the facility. Akron Children's will have 30-year lease with A. Altman Co.

"It's a long-term obligation," said Akron Children's President Grace Wakulchik.

The move will allow Akron Children's to bring operations from three locations around Stark County under one roof, and give the operations more space. Akron Chrildren's plans to move pediatric primary care, about a dozen pediatric specialty care practices and rehabilitation services into the building. Many of those operations already are in Aultman facilities, including the hospital's main campus in Canton.

 

The Aultman campus in North Canton is being transformed into a family care center campus, said Chris Remark, chief executive officer at Aultman Hospital.

The two hospitals have worked together on projects since 2008 and have spent the past 18 months reviewing plans that led to this project, Remark said.

"We're excited about what can happen on that campus," he said, adding that Aultman and Akron Children's are leveraging the strengths of two independent systems to provide care for children.

Wakulchik said the facility is the most recent in a series of collaborations between the hospitals, and more could follow.

"We are very happy at how the services we now offer in Stark County have been embraced by the families here," she said. More than 134,000 Stark County children last year visited outpatient, emergency room and primary care facilities operated by Akron Children's.

Akron Children's has 90 locations across northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The hospital already has a health center in Medina and is developing centers in Mansfield, Boston Heights and Portage County.

The health center planned for North Canton is the first where Akron Children's has worked with another hospital. Wakulchik said Akron Children's and Aultman share similar values. Both hospitals believe in remaining independent and working to keep health care costs affordable for families and employers.

Remark said more activity is anticipated at Aultman's campus in North Canton. The hospital hopes to incorporate the Stark Parks walking trail being constructed on Dressler Road NW and Glenwood Street SW into the campus. It's also possible another facility could be built, he said.

The campus is more than buildings, Remark said. "It's an assembly of things centered around family care."

On the first floor of the new building will be the North Canton office of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics. It will be the medical home for babies, children and teens staffed by pediatricians, nurse practitioners and pediatric nurses, as well as experts in behavioral and mental health and positive parenting services.

The second floor will have outpatient services for pediatric specialties, such as cardiology, allergy and immunology, neurology, sports medicine, orthopedics, ophthalmology and other areas. The ground level will house physical, occupational, and speech therapy rehabilitation services.

Wakulchik said the new building will bring the hospital's services closer to families.

North Canton Medical Foundation opened in 1972. Aultman built its first building on the north campus in 1998. In 2013 the North Canton Medical Foundation joined with Aultman Hospital, while its pediatrics practices aligned with Akron Children's.

Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or edd.pritchard@cantonrep.com.

On Twitter: @epritchardREP