In addition to the new seven-story patient tower Summa Health is opening in late May on its Akron campus, there are nearly two dozen other construction projects planned or underway across the system.
Summa estimates that it will invest more than $100 million in direct labor costs for the projects scheduled over the next two to three years.
"This is really a function of a couple things," said Dr. Cliff Deveny, Summa's president and CEO. "One is it was time to update everything. But two, the organization has done much better. And so being in a better financial position, we were able to borrow the money. We're going to be refinancing some of the debt. Days cash (on hand) is the highest I've seen it since I've been here: 273 days."
Deveny joined Summa as its interim leader in March 2017, a time of financial and cultural turmoil for the system. He was named its permanent president and CEO in October 2018 following a significant financial turnaround.
Summa closed 2018 with an operating income of $24.3 million, compared to an operating loss of $28 million the year prior. Operating revenue grew slightly, from $1.31 billion to $1.37 billion, between those two years.
Throughout this turnaround, the system has remained committed to its construction projects. Summa expects to open the new 343,000-square-foot patient tower — the first phase of the system's $350 million investment in its facilities — on time and under budget. Summa has planned a community open house for the building from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 19.
Of the $350 million commitment, more than $220 million is being spent during the campaign's first phase, of which the tower is the landmark investment. It includes other major projects as well, including $22 million spent on improvements throughout Summa's Barberton campus.
Construction is expected to start within a year on phase two, which includes relocating inpatient services and clinical services from St. Thomas over to the Akron campus, as well as the renovation of current hospital space at the Akron campus and a couple dozen projects that are new facilities or renovations of existing buildings.