Summa Health’s new West Tower on its Akron City Hospital campus is taking significant shape overlooking the state Route 8 and East Market Street corridor near downtown Akron.

The $220 million, seven-story building — which will also become the health system’s new front door — is the centerpiece of the $270 million first part of a two-phase project over the next six or seven years. Other Phase 1 projects include a makeover at Barberton Hospital’s campus and a new proposed medical office in Kent. Phase 2 will include renovations to the departments moving to the new building, making upgrades and creating single-patient rooms, said Ed Friedl, Summa vice president of construction and property management. The overall project is expected to cost $350 million.

Dr. Cliff Deveny, Summa interim president and CEO, has described the rise of the new tower as a metaphor for “the rebirth of Summa Health System,” which has had a tumultuous year and a half after abrupt changes to its emergency room staffing, ousting of its former CEO and subsequent loss of its emergency medicine residency program.

The tower was designed by Hasenstab Architects and Perspectus Architecture.

When the new 343,000-square-foot space is complete by next summer, the tower will feature private patient rooms; expanded surgery suites; two floors dedicated to labor and delivery services; a breast center; a multipurpose conference center and two floors of private medical surgery patient rooms.

The building’s “front door” will move from Arch Street to Forge Street.

Drivers will be able to drop off patients or their cars on a circular loop — which runs off North Forge at North Adolph — for access to the new main hospital entrance, the emergency room or the North Adolph parking deck. That will become the hospital’s main parking deck, although all other hospital decks and the current “main entrance” to the hospital on Arch Street will remain open, Friedl said. There is no parking directly at the front door, although there will be valet services, he said.

Creating a new and distinct front door is needed, Friedl said.

“If you said ‘Go to the main entrance’ and didn’t know Akron, where would you go?” Friedl asked. “If you Google it, it takes you to the center of the hospital.”

Once the structure is complete, patients will be able to see and access the main entrance from state Route 8 with easy signage, he said.

Night view

A distinguishing feature on the new building will be a back-lit screen wall facing Route 8, which will be able to glow in the evening. Friedl said the color will mostly be white, though he’s already fielded questions about other colors.

“It’ll be a beacon of light when you go up and down Route 8,” he said.

The exterior front of the new tower will be a modern style, featuring mainly glass and textured gray metal panels. The back of the facility will blend the hospital’s past with the future, using some terra-cotta brick that is seen on many of the existing older buildings on the City Hospital campus.

A covered entrance will protect the visitors from rain and snow. Inside the front door, patients will find a two-story atrium with a grand staircase, reception desk and a long, connecting curved corridor 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.

Bridges will connect the new West Tower to the old campus and from the Adolph parking deck.

The construction, which began in May 2017, also incorporates more than $100 million in local trade labor, including $70 million for the West Tower project, Friedl said.

The new tower includes an increase by 30 percent for facilities dedicated to expectant mothers, labor and delivery and postpartum care, Friedl said. That’s because when women are in the hospital to have a baby, it’s one of the happiest times a person wants to be at the hospital. The hospital is also expecting a 30 percent growth in this area, he said.

“The mother also often makes decisions on which facility to go to, so once they’re here, they often will stay here” for future services, he said.

Floor plan

Here is what will be on the floors of the West Tower:

•?Ground floor/Street level: Registration, Women’s Breast Center (moving from Hamlin Pavilion with all new imaging equipment, such as MRI and mammogram machines), pre-admission testing, Aladdin’s Restaurant, relocated gift shop, conference center and art gallery.

•?First floor: Same-day surgery and expansion of existing general surgery area by eight new operating rooms.

•?Second floor: Labor and delivery, including 18 labor and delivery rooms (four rooms with birthing tubs, up from one now); nine ante-partum rooms (for high-risk pregnancies before labor); 10 triage rooms; three C-section rooms and a 24-bed neonatal intensive care.

•?Third floor: Mechanical floor — heating and cooling equipment, generators.

•?Fourth floor: 36 new mother/baby in-patient rooms, along with a newborn nursery.

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

Medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty