Time flies when you’re Building on the Promise (Time-lapse Video)

While they didn’t move quite as fast as it seems in this video, the workers who built the Kay Jewelers Pavilion helped ensure the project was completed months ahead of schedule, and well under the projected $180 million budget. There is also an extended version of this video.

Community open house set for April 26 to celebrate opening of Kay Jewelers Pavilion

Kay Jewelers PavilionHere’s your first chance to step inside Akron’s newest gem and celebrate our community’s most precious jewels – kids.

Patient families, friends and the general public are invited to take their first look inside Akron Children’s Hospital’s new $180 million Kay Jewelers Pavilion at a community open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 26.

The open house will include:

  • guided tours of our new ER, NICU, GOJO Outpatient Surgery Center and special delivery unit for high-risk newborns
  • kids’ games and activities, including life-size versions of popular board games and a photo booth
  • entertainment, including performances by local kids, puppeteers, costumed characters and a bubble artist
  • Doggie Brigade volunteers

Attendees will also have an opportunity to draw pictures that will become part of a permanent, public artwork at the hospital.

A Look Inside

Kay Jewelers Pavilion lobby

Kay Jewelers Pavilion lobby

The interior of Kay Jewelers Pavilion features a “backyard” theme echoing the joys of childhood and the idea that Akron Children’s has been a treasure in greater Akron’s own backyard since 1890.

“Akron Children’s was founded 125 years ago this year as a day nursery and has grown into a regional health system with the depth and breadth of clinical services that truly enable us to serve all of the children who need us,” said Bill Considine, president and chief executive officer of Akron Children’s. “Every detail of Kay Jewelers Pavilion has been carefully planned with our patient families in mind – and we are thrilled to finally open our doors and invite everyone to see this exciting investment into our children’s well being.”

In following the backyard theme, our new NICU is “The Treehouse” – a soothing, healing environment where families can be comfortable while neonatologists and specially trained nurses care for the youngest and most fragile of infants.

In keeping with the backyard theme of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion, our new ER has a puddle theme

In keeping with the backyard theme of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion, our new ER has a puddle theme

Our ER, nicknamed “The Puddle,” was especially designed to facilitate a more natural flow of admissions.

The GOJO Outpatient Surgery Center, “The Sandbox,” will open with 4 operating rooms equipped for a variety of outpatient procedures, including ENT, ophthalmology, urology, dental and some plastic surgery cases.

Our new labor, delivery and recovery center, known as “The Garden,” is designed for cases when a baby is considered at high risk and in need of pediatric specialists the moment they are born.

New medical building is parent approved

Beth Tenda with her children at the groundbreaking

Beth Tenda with her 3 children at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kay Jewelers Pavilion.

When Beth Tenda brings one of her children to Akron Children’s new ER, she’ll know every nook and cranny of the space down to the most obscure detail.

That’s because Beth helped design the hospital’s $200 million Kay Jewelers Pavilion as part of the lean project delivery process.

Beth and other parents provide design input to the architects during a focus group in 2012.

Beth and other parents provide design input to the architects during a focus group in 2012.

The process began 2 years ago when doctors, nurses, and other members of the care team met and brainstormed about the ideal ER and trauma bay, neonatal intensive care unit and outpatient surgery center.

Beth and several other parents served as the voice of patient families in the process.

They collected and studied data, looked at pictures of other children’s hospitals, worked with architects and engineers, and built and tested simulated space using cardboard walls.

The goals were to build the best space for patient care, improve efficiency, minimize mistakes and keep the construction on time and under budget.

“Wow, this is just as we had planned it,” said Beth, who was on a tour of the building several months before it opened to the public. “The door spaces, the room spaces are perfectly as I envisioned.”

Adopting children with special needs

After raising 2 sons, Beth still felt that pull to parent and adopted 3 children with special needs. Born prematurely, they are now between the ages of 8 and 10 and require the care of pulmonology, GI, sleep, and neuro-developmental specialists.

Beth estimates she has made more than 50 visits to Akron Children’s ER over the past few years.

“Parents carry stuff – diaper bags, purses, infant carriers, toys. I typically had a stroller or wheelchair and not all of us are petite so, in our meetings, I always questioned door space and room space,” said Beth. “You don’t want to be left in an exam room that feels like closet.”

Beth also got to provide input on the interior design of Kay Jewelers Pavilion at a parent town hall meeting in 2013.

Beth also got to provide input on the interior design of Kay Jewelers Pavilion at a parent town hall meeting in 2013.

Beth also recommended family restrooms, glass doors in the ER (where patients are less likely to feel forgotten) and a larger security presence in the ER waiting room.

Beth Tenda with Dr. Emily Scott at a design workshop for the ER

Beth and Dr. Emily Scott at an ER design workshop

“Two years ago, I would guess I made an ER visit at least every other month so I know it well,” she said. “I’ve been there when it was standing room only. So I am very excited to see the new ER in action. It’s all about flow, triaging the patients based on symptoms, and getting them treated sooner. Registration will take place in the exam room, so that means one less stop.”

Beth contributed about 100 hours to the project, attending town hall meetings in the evenings, at least 4 all-day design workshops at a warehouse, and many other sessions.

Beth participates in a simulation workshop for the outpatient surgery center

Beth participates in a simulation workshop for the outpatient surgery center

“You see different ideas and I learned so much about how all of these people interact to provide care to keep kids healthy. It was an eye opener,” she said. “There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make the typical ER visit or the typical medical appointment happen.”

Beth’s experience as a member of the design team has impacted how she views her day-to-day life.

“I look at things differently now,” she said. “Whether I am shopping or on a doctor’s appointment myself, I get annoyed if processes are not consumer friendly. Getting my kids ready for bed is now clockwork.”

Beth at the NICU town hall meeting in 2012

Beth at the NICU town hall meeting in 2012

Beth continues to volunteer as a parent advisor at the hospital, providing input on various hospital committees and performance improvement projects.

“In many places and in many ways, parents are given the opportunity to have a voice in their children’s medical care or education and we need to use those opportunities,” Beth said. “Whenever I walk into that new building, I think I will want to pat myself on the back and say, ‘I did this!’”

Sculptures find new home at hospital’s medical tower


Quietly standing in the landscape of the Kay Jewelers Pavilion will be a family of sculptures without a name but not without purpose.

Local artist, Don Drumm, is donating 3 free-standing sculptures to adorn the grounds of the building. Although Drumm didn’t design the sculptures specifically for the hospital, the pieces are a beautiful reflection of the families it serves.

After hearing about the newest building on Akron Children’s campus and seeing its construction, Drumm felt the sculptures were best suited just down the road from his gallery.

“I feel it’s important the hospital chose to have a contemporary look to the architecture of the building because it reflects the innovative treatments and care they offer,” Drumm said. “I think the new building is gorgeous, and I’m happy the sculptures can be a part of this great space.”

While Drumm is widely recognized for his use of cast aluminum as an artistic medium, the family sculptures were created with an equally unique technique but different material.

Drumm designed the sculptures as hand-drawn sketches and used a computer-assisted water-jet plasma-cutting machine to make them come to life.

“Our gallery is fortunate enough to have a partnership with a company in North Carolina that can cut our renderings to any size we need,” said Drumm. “For these pieces, I knew they would be featured outdoors so each one is 7 to 8 feet tall.”

One sculpture, depicting a pregnant mother, is made of Core 10. This special steel, made by U.S. Steel, holds rust to give a rusty finish and color but doesn’t decay.

The other 2 sculptures, both representing
TJS_3065parents with children, were made from mild steel then galvanized with zinc and sand blasted. Ink color and sealer were also added to the surface to suit the artist’s preference.

Through this layering process, the integrity of each sculpture can endure the extreme outdoor temperatures and weather conditions.

The material, color scheme and images portrayed in Drumm’s sculptures are echoed in the design and color selection used inside the new building. For example, the emergency department, which represents a puddle, uses cool, calming colors similar to the blue color of the family sculpture. The outpatient surgery center, which represents a sandbox, uses a warm yet lively interior color palette much like the pregnant mother sculpture.

The blue family sculptures are located in each landscape bed on the southeast and southwest corners of Perkins Park. The rust-colored mother sculpture is featured in the landscape bed in front of the Exchange Street Deck.

“I think Children’s is the perfect home for these sculptures,” added Lisa Drumm, Drumm’s wife and fellow artist.

A gem of a gift


Ed Hrabak, president of Sterling Jewelers, looks at the building as the banner announcing the Kay Jewelers Pavilion is unveiled before the gathered guests.

On Oct. 24, Akron Children’s Hospital announced the name of its new medical building on the Akron campus: the Kay Jewelers Pavilion.

The new building was named in recognition of Kay® Jewelers continued support and recent $10 million gift toward the “Building on the Promise” capital campaign. The gift is the largest in Akron Children’s history.

Kay® Jewelers is operated by Akron, Ohio-based Sterling Jewelers, a Division of Signet Jewelers Ltd., the largest specialty retail jeweler in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.


More than 80 guests attended the celebration, which was highlighted by the official announcement of the building name and remarks from leadership at both organizations, including Sterling Jewelers President Ed Hrabak and Akron Children’s President and CEO Bill Considine.

“I’m so proud that Sterling Jewelers is supporting Akron Children’s,” said Hrabak. “Together, we will continue to make a difference for our children and the children in our community.”

“Sterling’s generosity is an example of how local businesses can support the hospital, which enables us to continue serving the patients here in our own backyard,” said Considine .


During the event, Hannah Seigfried, a Sterling Jewelers team member, shared the story of her family’s experience at Akron Children’s – where her daughter, Sariah, born prematurely at 29 weeks, was treated.

Joined by her now 9-month old daughter, Hannah recounted how the family benefited from the care and compassion that they found at Akron Children’s during Sariah’s 87-day stay.

“We’ve have definitely had a few bumps in the road, but I feel very blessed for having Akron Children’s Hospital,” said Seigfried. “I have a very healthy, almost 9-month-old thanks to this hospital.”

Since 2012, the $60 million “Building on the Promise” capital campaign has helped to finance a major expansion of the hospital’s Akron campus. Akron Children’s officially broke ground on the new medical building in May 2013.


Hannah Seigfried, with her ten-month-old daughter Sariah Boyer, was among the Sterling Jewelers employees who attended the event.

When it opens in May 2015, it will house a NICU, emergency department, outpatient surgery center, and labor and delivery unit for high-risk newborns. This initiative has also supported the renovation and expansion of the Ronald McDonald House of Akron. In addition to Kay Jewelers Pavilion, the new café in the building will also be called the Kay Kafé.

“This wonderful gift is a true testament and reflective of the outstanding corporate citizen Sterling is in this community,” said Philip Maynard, chairman of the “Building on the Promise” capital campaign. “They and their many team members personify the meaning of giving back to the community, where they live and work, by giving of their time, their talent and their treasure. Children’s has certainly benefited immeasurably from our partnership and collaboration with Sterling, and I’m certain our journey together will continue for many years to come.”

New dining area to resemble a garden patch

Rendering of the Kay Kafé.

Rendering of the Kay Kafé.

What would a backyard be without a light and airy spot to relax and have a bite to eat?

In keeping with the “backyard” theme of the new building, Akron Children’s has created a dining area that resembles a “garden patch,” with a color scheme featuring bright greens, oranges and reds, reminiscent of growing vegetables.

“The floor plan and furnishings are designed to resemble garden boxes and raised garden beds with rows of vegetables,” said Marge Zezulewicz, an architect with Hasenstab Inc.

Located on the first level on the north side of the new building, the tables will be placed along the windows on the exterior wall, giving diners a view of the amphitheater and bringing the outside in. A door provides easy access to the park.


Rendering of dining area

“Initially, the hospital-operated café will provide staff, visitors and patient families with “grab & go” fare, like sandwiches, salads and soups, made on the premises,” said Donna-Marie Fleck, MA, RD/LD, director of support services at Akron Children’s.  “A highlight of the café will be the specialty coffee line. We think that will be the big attraction!”

The café will be open morning to mid-afternoon, but as the building reaches its full capacity, the café has the ability to grow to meet the expanding need, as do the food prep and sanitation areas adjacent to the dining room.

“We wanted this to be a respite area for people in the new building,” Fleck said. “The Kids’ Café in the main building will still be the place to go for a full, hot  meal.”

Following the lean design approach used for the other areas of the building, Food Service held mini-workshops to create the concept, design the space and work out the flow.

Kay team members toured the new building stopped at the site of the upcoming Kay Kafé.

Kay team members recently toured the new building and stopped at the site of the future Kay Kafé.

In addition to the café, Food Service will have a role throughout the new building with healthy snack vending machines on each of the floors, complimentary food trays for breast feeding moms in the NICU, and guest trays for purchase for in-room or patient floor lounge dining.

“Food trays will be prepared in the main hospital kitchen, where they are assembled, then transported to the new building using a new delivery system that will hold the food at an optimal serving temperature for over an hour,” Fleck said.

Patient families and staff reunite to celebrate Graffiti Project


Perkins Square Park resembled a family reunion on Aug. 13 when patient families and Akron Children’s employees came together to celebrate the conclusion of the Graffiti Project.

The Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation created the Graffiti Project as a way to honor, remember and celebrate the hospital’s current and former patients. Between November 2013 and February 2014 more than 200 nominations were submitted and stenciled on the concrete facade of the new medical building on the Akron campus.


During the event, patient families received a photo of their loved one’s name on the building as well as the nomination that was submitted in their honor.

President and CEO Bill Considine spoke at the event, explaining why the project began and how vital the patients and their families are to the hospital.

“The real foundation of this campus – the real foundation of the new medical tower—are the children and the families that we are so privileged to serve,” said Considine.

More than 250 people attended the party, including twins William and Georgia Victory, who spent 2 months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

“It’s so exciting and such an honor to be a lasting part of Akron Children’s,” said the twins’ mother, Bianchi Victory. “They wouldn’t be here without Children’s, and now it will forever be a part of our lives.”

Many others shared their stories as they enjoyed ice cream and the beautiful weather. Some even took pictures with their photos and nominations in front of the new building, which has since been covered with a brick exterior.

“Even though we’re covering up the names, they are going to be with us relative to everything we do and all the wonderful services that are going to be provided in this medical tower,” Considine said.

The new building is set to be completed in early 2015 and will begin providing services to the community in May 2015.

Hospital staff cooks up dozens of ways to thank construction crew

Each month, Bakers for Builders thank the construction crew for their support of the hospital's new building project, especially through participating in fundraising activities such as the radiothon with WKDD.

Each month, Bakers for Builders thank the construction crew for their support of the hospital’s new building project. In addition to their hard labor, crew members have supported the project through their participation in various fundraising activities such as the radiothon with WKDD.

Dressed in hardhats, safety goggles and reflective vests, 15 Akron Children’s staff members arrived at the construction crew lunchroom recently carrying white bakery boxes full of cookies and cupcakes. Crew members applauded and cheered their generous gesture, before descending upon the sugary contents of the boxes.


While the first appearance of the Bakers for Builders group was a surprise, now the workers have come to expect these monthly visitors, who made their first delivery in April. The group was formed to thank the construction crew and local unions, who have embraced Akron Children’s culture while working on the hospital’s new medical tower.


Akron Children’s administrative assistant Kelly Ott stepped in to help organize the effort with a call out to employees.

“The response was overwhelming and immediate,” she said. “My inbox was flooded by staff members who wanted to bake for the construction crew. Now, we have volunteers scheduled through November, with a waiting list.”

Every month new volunteers make 3 to 4 dozen treats of their choice, including some who bake nut-free and gluten-free versions so no one on the crew is left out.


“There are 350 guys on the site, with another 40 to 50 in the construction office,” said Hasenstab architect Marge Zezulewicz. “The Welty-Boldt owners and project managers get the praise, but the local union guys on the site are the ones making it all happen. We wanted to show our appreciation and keep them motivated.”

crew-enjoying-baked-goodiesAs an added reward, after the volunteers deliver their goodies in the lunchroom, which is located on the construction site, Marge gives them a tour of the new emergency department, the most complete section of the new building.

“I stress the contribution of the people who participated in the warehouse teams and educate the bakers about the building,” Marge said. “When they go back to work, they are excited and talk to their peers about how wonderful the new building will be.”

And as the bakers tour the site, happy construction workers shout out their thanks and make “Cookie Monster” noises, to the delight of the volunteers.

The art of building child-friendly hospital space

Ron Beahn and Alison Rich, from Akron Public Schools, discuss art selections.

Ron Beahn and Alison Rich, from Akron Public Schools, discuss art selections.

Akron Children’s new medical tower will not only serve the healthcare needs of the region’s children, it will continue the hospital’s decades-long tradition of providing an outlet for their creative talents.

When the new building opens in 2015, more than 400 new pieces of colorful, child-friendly art will adorn its walls. The art will match the building’s backyard theme, as well as the related themes of the individual department floors.

Of the total, 250 pieces will be children’s art.

Akron Children’s art consultant, Ron Beahn,  is selecting, framing and installing the children’s art.

A popular watercolorist, Beahn, who curated Goodyear’s $6 million art collection, owns a framing store in Cuyahoga Falls and has been director of the Boston Mills Arts Festival for many years.

As the hospital’s art consultant, he has been responsible for selecting and installing children’s art when expansion, department moves and new pediatrician offices have created a need.

Planning for artwork

Beahn began working with architectural drawings and HKS designer Becky Baumer in August 2013 to develop a plan that defined what art would be needed and the costs.  Once the plan was approved, Beahn sent emails to art teachers at 119 northeast Ohio schools to invite them to participate.

The need to match art to the themes created a challenge for Beahn.

“Teachers enter the school year with a set curriculum dictated by the state,” he said. “You can’t dictate to the schools what you want. It was difficult to go to the teachers and ask for a treehouse painting, for example.”

Although he didn’t exclude any school that couldn’t comply, he’s using the themes as parameters when selecting the art.

“My goal is to take at least one piece of art from every school that made the effort to participate,”Beahn said.

Out of the 119 schools, 55 responded. Beahn has been scheduling visits to the schools to see what the children have created. To date, he’s purchased 65 pieces from 20 schools. High school students whose artwork is selected receive a $50 gift card, while elementary and middle school students get a $25 gift card.

With the building construction ahead of schedule, Beahn is pushing to have all the art in hand by the end of May.

In addition to the children’s art, 150 photographs, reproduced in 16×20 or 30×40 formats, will be installed in theme-appropriate areas of the building.

These photographs will be selected from among those submitted by employees in the Building on the Promise Photo Contest and will have a label identifying the photographer.  Each employee can submit up to 6 entries per theme, with no limit on the number of images that can ultimately be displayed for an individual employee.

Art for outdoor space

Rendering of the outdoor amphitheater

Rendering of the outdoor amphitheater

Outside the new building, 3 areas have been designated for outdoor sculptures. Beahn has reached out to artists in northeast Ohio to request drawings of their concept, a personal bio, an image of their past work, and a cost including installation.

“Materials can be anything from steel to concrete to stone,” said Beahn. “What’s important is how the artist uses the material to capture the vision of the hospital and its mission, while appealing to children and teens.”

As a place for the artists to begin, Beahn shared the landscaper’s vision for the 3 locations:

  • Main entry drop-off and amphitheatre – This space was designed as an opportunity to incorporate colorful and interactive sculpture.
  • Southeast corner of the building at the main lobby – This highly visible space will be suitable for an arrangement of smaller pieces, with the landscaping designed around the art.
  • ED Entry – This space is intended for staff respite, so it can be geared to an older audience.

Beahn and the hospital’s selection committee will make the final decision on the photographs and sculptures.

Train process keeps construction on track

Graham Ryan and Evan Engelman

Graham Ryan, right, and Evan Engelman consult the planning board.

When Welty-Boldt Production Engineer Graham Ryan tells a trade partner that he’s getting on the train, the partner isn’t going to be watching the bucolic views unfold along the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The train Ryan is talking about is an outgrowth of Takt Planning, part of the lean process being used to construct Akron Children’s new medical tower, slated to open in spring 2015.

“Takt is derived from a German word meaning meter or rhythm,” said Ryan. “It allows construction to proceed with predictability and reliability. Picture a manufacturing line but instead of parts moving down the line, it’s people.”

Each floor of the new building is divided into 1 to 4 areas. A crew, with specific construction responsibilities, completes its work in 1 area in 5 days, then moves on to the next. Another crew builds on what has been completed, again finishing in 5 days.


Each crew represents the car of a train. The train works its way through the building, an area at a time, completing everything from electrical, plumbing, and dry wall hanging, through lighting, flooring, painting and interior design, until the building is complete.

“Crews don’t need to wait until an entire floor is done,” Ryan said. “They just wait for an area to be completed. The time savings can be counted in weeks.”

This location-based scheduling differs from the more traditional approach, where all the trade partners work together at the same time on the same level of a building.

“The traditional approach can be a free-for-all, as everyone competes to get their own work completed, creating quality and safety issues,” Ryan said. “Sometimes dry wall is hung before electrical or plumbing is completed, which results in tearing down the walls to finish what’s behind them.”

Using Takt, electrical and plumbing cars are in the front of the train, so those crews arrive in each area first to complete their work before the car representing the crew hanging the dry wall arrives.

Although this process results in faster construction, Ryan stresses that reliability is more important than speed.

“Each crew commits to having its work in each area completed in 5 days, so we not only know when the work will be finished, but we know that each task is completed accurately before the next step begins,” he said. “Information, materials and equipment, and safety procedures are in place before the next train car arrives.”

Since the same crew stays in the same train car throughout the entire building, the learning curve is very short.

“The crews are doing the same thing continuously,” said Ryan. “With no down time, they don’t need to relearn the tasks, so they become more productive and quality improves as they move through the building.”

Although this approach was first used in the construction of the Empire State Building in 1929, it languished until embraced again recently by companies using Lean construction techniques like Akron Children’s building project.