Akron General Medical Center will move into the new wellness center being built at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown.
The 177,338-square-foot health, wellness and medical education complex is the third piece of a massive $166 million campus expansion.
Integrated Wellness Partners, a joint venture between Akron General Health System and Signet Enterprises, plans to establish a medical fitness center open to NEOMED students, faculty, staff and the community.
Signet, an Akron-based developer, also is responsible for the Village at NEOMED, the university's first on-campus residential housing. The fitness center, which would include exercise equipment and a swimming pool, is expected to take about 24,500 square feet.
Akron General also plans to offer physical therapy and warm water therapy services in a 4,000-square-foot space.
NEOMED will take most of the space in the building, about 120,000 square feet, for internal uses such as the relocated Ralph Regula Conference and Event Center.
The Bio-Med Science Academy, the rural STEM+M school on NEOMED's campus, will take up the third story, and will house about 400 students when all four grades of the high school are moved in, NEOMED President Jay Gershen said.
The remaining 17,000 square feet of the facility is expected to be used for medical offices, such as primary care offices and a pharmacy. Akron General may operate the medical offices, and NEOMED also would consider a partnership with doctors from Robinson Memorial Hospital, Wray said.
Although the primary care offices may have evening and weekend hours and operate like an "urgent care" facility, there are no plans for an emergency room on the campus.
"We decided it just wasn't necessary for the county," he said.
The building will be constructed on the east side of campus along S.R. 44, is expected to be complete in summer 2014. It will connect to existing buildings on the campus.
The first two phases of the campus expansion are on schedule and under budget, Wray said. The Research and Graduate Education Building is expected to be complete at the end of May. The first three buildings in the residential village will open in July, with the second and third buildings ahead of schedule. The first building was delayed because utility lines were relocated for it. He anticipated builders will add a shift and put in 16 hour days to meet the deadline.
A future phase would include retail uses, such as restaurants or coffee shops, is in the plans for a later date. The university would not spend its money on the retail, but would instead allow a developer to build on the campus, Wray said.
The existing conference center will be re purposed for academic uses.
Gershen pointed out that the additional academic space is needed for the influx of students from Cleveland State University. The medical college will house up to 150 students, up from the 119 it accommodates now. More graduate and pharmacy students also are expected to be added.
He said that when the STEMM school moves to its new home, it will be in the third year of its four-year expansion. The first class of seniors will graduate from the charter school in 2015.
"The key thing is that here we are, a public university, and we're building a public high school as a result of private donations," he said. "There's no other project like that in Ohio. We're the only STEM school in the country that's on a medical campus."
He said NEOMED is "very excited" about its new partnership with Akron General.
"We believe this public-private partnership will provide great benefits at a reasonable cost," he said. "It's important that we're able to build this project without using state funds."
"Akron General has prided itself for many years as being the area's clear leader in health and wellness services for the communities we serve," said Dr. Thomas Stover, president and CEO of Akron General. "This latest partnership with NEOMED is a natural result of our strategy to broaden the geographic reach of our health and wellness programs."
"We are truly honored to be a part of the extraordinary campus transformation at NEOMED," said Tony Manna, chairman of Signet Enterprises and Integrated Wellness Partners. "And our team is delighted to collaborate with the University on a project that will enrich the academic experience for NEOMED students, enhance the delivery of health care services for the community, and create a hub of activity on-campus for all of Portage County. This project will encourage wellness, spur innovation, and provide NEOMED with a world-class facility that will enhance its competitive position in the market for decades to come."
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