Summa Health on Thursday unveiled architects’ renderings of its new front door — a modern-looking, curved, six-story tower that will redefine its main campus in Akron.

The 300,000-square-foot building — which Summa calls its West Tower — will be the centerpiece of the health system’s $350 million facilities plan announced a year ago.

Groundbreaking for the West Tower will occur in May, but earth-moving equipment is already on the site overlooking state Route 8. Protective fencing featuring portraits of Summa Health employees surrounds the construction area, which encompasses land adjacent to East Market Street, North Adolph Street and Forge Street.

“For our employees, patients and the community, construction of the West Tower symbolizes the building of a new Summa Health,” said Valerie Gibson, Summa Health’s chief operating officer.

The building — which will connect to Summa’s Adolph Street parking garage via a new elevated walkway — will serve as the primary entrance to Summa’s City Hospital campus, which is now off Arch Street. It was designed by Hasenstab Architects and Perspectus Architecture.

At the West Tower, drivers will be able to drop off patients or their cars on a circular driveway — which runs off North Forge at North Adolph — where a valet service will be available.

A wide awning will protect the area from rain and snow. Inside the front door, patients will find a two-story atrium, reception desk and a long, curved wall that mimics the curve of the building’s exterior. Pre-admission testing, Summa’s breast health center and a gift shop will also be based on the same level, which Summa refers to as its ground floor.

Here is some of what will be on the remaining floors of the West Tower in spring 2019:

•?First floor: Surgery, same-day surgery, operating rooms, recovery.

•?Second floor: Labor and deliver, in addition to neonatal intensive care.

•?Third floor: Mechanics — health and cooling equipment, generators.

•?Fourth floor: New mother/baby rooms, along with a newborn nursery.

•?Fifth and sixth floors: Each floor will have 36 private patient rooms.

Gibson said patient expectations have changed and Summa has tried to meet them with the West Tower, along with changes to the older part of its campus that will occur once tower construction is complete. Among those, she said, is making Summa’s campus easier to navigate and making 85 percent of patient rooms private.

“And we wanted a statement to be made with the building, its visual appearance,” she said.

The front of the West Tower will be all modern, mostly glass and textured gray tile. But the back blends Summa’s past with its future, Gibson said, mixing the materials from the building’s front with the terra-cotta brick that makes up the older part of Summa’s campus. She said 33 teams of doctors and employees worked with architects to come up with the concept. Now those teams are working on the interior spaces.

On Thursday, Summa officials demonstrated how they’re using virtual reality to help design operating rooms. It’s using physical mock-ups of other spaces in the facility.

The West Tower is part of a larger Summa project announced a year ago by Summa’s then-President and CEO Dr. Thomas Malone.

At the time, Malone said it marked the beginning of a new era of health care at Summa.

Malone resigned in January after he failed to come to contract terms with a group of physicians who staffed Summa’s emergency departments. Malone, with the approval of Summa’s board, abruptly hired a new contractor that set off a firestorm among doctors and employees.

Malone’s interim replacement Dr. Cliff Deveny — a former Summa executive who had been working in Virginia and Colorado — took over the system March 13.

While Summa’s leaders have changed, the project hasn’t.

“Now, under the leadership of Dr. Cliff Deveny, we’re committed to moving forward — investing in the future of our region, the health and wellness of our community, and this organization,” Gibson said.

Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or agarrett@thebeaconjournal.com.