“Do you like this one?” asked Jessica Caldwell as her preschooler, Zachariah, slid farther into the chair, Goldfish® crackers in hand.
Zachariah shrugged, but seemed content getting cozy in one of several chairs that may eventually have a permanent home in the expansion of Akron Children’s Beeghly campus in Boardman.
The Caldwells were one of several patient families and staff who made their way to the Boardman Medical Pavilion in August to try out furniture that will be going into waiting areas, exam rooms and staff areas in the new building, part of an $18.6-million construction project that will expand the Beeghly campus by more than 51,000 feet. The 3-day event welcomed the public to attend; all told, 54 visitors cast their votes.
Staff made the experience more enticing for kids by offering treats and listening carefully to each child’s comments.
The exercise ended up being a little bit like walking into a Goldilocks storybook – 1 chair was too hard, another too soft, and finally, after trying out a few, young visitors would find a chair that was just right.
Seventh grader Ory Penny had no problem quickly moving from chair to chair before finding a favorite. The youngster then settled in and chatted with his mom, Shermannetta Trescott, about how he’d made his decision.
Throughout the building’s planning and construction, Akron Children’s has reached out to the community to weigh in on various aspects – right down to the furniture. The process is part of the hospital’s overall focus on Lean Six Sigma building principles, which were developed by the manufacturing industry to improve systems, reduce waste and enhance quality.
For Akron Children’s it has become a guiding philosophy to ensure that the ideas and needs of patient families and employees are taken into account in creating a first-rate healthcare facility.
“It’s important for us to get the community’s input,” said Lisa Foley, operations supervisor of pediatric specialties for Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley. “We want our patients to be as comfortable as possible from the moment they walk in our doors.”
The expansion, which broke ground in December of 2015, will allow the hospital to consolidate its Boardman-based clinics and add 49 exam rooms, including those for specialty and primary care.