Summa Health's new "front door" — a seven-story tower that has been under construction since 2017 — is nearly ready for its debut.

Patients will officially be seen in the new tower beginning May 28.

The Akron health system is hosting an invitation-only reception Wednesday, followed by a community open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The $220 million, seven-story building will become Summa’s new front door for its Akron City Hospital campus, moving the main entrance from Arch Street to 141 N. Forge St. It is accessible off state Route 8 via the Perkins Street exit or directly off East Market Street or Fountain Street near the University Park YMCA.

The new tower is next to the hospital’s emergency department and same-day surgery center. The same-day surgery center and pre-admission testing will relocate to the tower.

The 343,000-square-foot space features private patient rooms, new operating rooms, two floors dedicated to labor and delivery services, an expanded breast center, a multipurpose conference center and two floors of private medical surgery patient rooms. A Starbucks and gift shop are still to come on what Summa refers to as its ground floor, accessible by the main entrance. The tower has one floor below ground for mechanical equipment and seven stories above ground.

“We are very proud of the amount of work we’ve done over the last two years. The tower really focuses on surgical services and women’s services," Dr. Cliff Deveny, Summa president and chief executive officer, said this week during a tour. "Probably the greatest thing is 108 new private rooms."

The number of private rooms across the hospital will go up from 30 percent to 50 percent with the new tower, said Dr. David Custodio, president of Summa’s Akron City Hospital. After the hospital renovates the areas moving to the new tower during the next few years, that number will go up to 85 to 88 percent, he said.

The project included $70 million in payroll for 300 skilled laborers during the last two years, Deveny said.

The exterior front is mostly glass and textured gray metal panels. A back-lit screen wall facing state Route 8 will glow white in the evening.

Patients can be dropped off before parking in the Adolph Parking Deck next to the University Park YMCA, where there is also a pedestrian bridge directly into the new tower. There will also be valet parking available at the main entrance and other lots around the campus.

To keep snow and ice at bay, there is 57,000 linear feet of heated piping beneath the sidewalks and main entrance.

Summa’s GPS program, called its “Summa Health Way Finder,” which offers turn-by-turn directions, is being updated, Custodio said. The app is available for iPhone and Android at www.summahealth.org or at kiosks on campus.

The hospital’s old Arch Street entrance will remain open, mainly for testing and certain procedures in that part of the building, Deveny said.

Many of the departments moving to the new tower are getting more space.

On the labor and delivery floor, there will be four rooms with birthing tubs, up from one in the previous unit. The newborn nursery is smaller and there is not a large window for parents or families to see the babies because the care model has changed, said Deveny, an OB/GYN who delivered at Summa for many years before starting his administrative career.

“The babies spend most of their time, about 23 hours a day, in the room with their mom,” he said.

Summa’s labor and delivery care teams have been working for more than a year on simulations to coordinate births on May 28 when the new tower opens to patients, Custodio said. Patients who start their labor in the old unit will stay there.

The hospital’s same-day surgery unit will go from 29 bays separated by curtains to 67 private rooms, Custodio said. The same-day surgery operating rooms also have two that will house a robot for procedures and state-of-the-art technology to create special air flow to decrease chances of infection, he said.

The tower and new hospital rooms also will feature a lot of artwork by local artists and national artists, including a donated Dale Chihuly piece on the ground floor.



Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter 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/topics/linfisher