Inside the Design of a New Child Care Center

Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.) registered architect and principal, Matt Canterna, AIA is the architect and project manager for the New 18th Street Child Care Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH). The first phase of the design recently wrapped up construction and the facility is open to provide care for the children of NCH employees. To follow, Canterna provides insight and an “inside the design” overview of the many unique elements incorporated into this fun, fresh, and engaging facility for the pickiest of end-users.


The exterior design speaks to the brand and aesthetic of the growing NCH campus. The goal of the new facility is to be unique yet still convey the same sense of promise that every child and family feels when entering a NCH facility. A challenge was matching our two-story building to the look and feel of the campus composed predominantly of high-rise buildings. The solution was to use two colors of cast stone to complement the look of the rest of the campus composed mostly of precast panels.


The new Child Care Center was designed in two phases to allow for continued operation and the expansion of the building to provide care for more infants and toddlers. Phase 1 matched the current program size of the existing building and is designed and built in the parking lot of the existing facility. The program is operating in the new building and the previous center was recently demolished. Phase 2 builds the second half of the new building, which will double the number of children (and families) that they can serve. Phase 2 will be built in the footprint of the demolished existing building, and will also include a larger preschool playground as well as a staff parking lot.

Every square inch of the site is utilized. The new Child Care Center is located on a narrow, long urban site bounded by an artery street, city alley, and a major thoroughfare to the south. The existing child care center (building, playgrounds, and parent drop off) remained fully operational during the construction of the new facility.


The entire facility was designed to promote transparency and ensure total “sight and sound” of the children. You can see straight through the building in the center; the lobby, art room, extended learning areas- all open to the corridor and each other with full height glass along the corridor that promotes an expansive imagination and interest in other students, classes and activities.

Key features of the design include a large, central lobby with branded wall coverings, abundant natural light, double height ceilings, and a monumental open stair all serve as a great transparent ‘welcome’ to the building.

Also, unique to the design of the lobby is a book nook. This space provides teachers and students with an escape on a wet or blustery day when the playground is closed and promotes impromptu learning while students are waiting for pickup or checking in at drop off.


New to this facility is a full commercial kitchen and reading room. The kitchen allows for a chef to join the staff and prepare fresh and nutritious meals distinctively designed for the kids, instead of having food shipped over from the hospital’s main kitchen. This enhances the culinary offerings and reduces operating costs. Coming in Phase 2 is a reading room with computers to allow the center to provide break out lessons and activities for preschool and kindergarten students who are reading at an advanced level.


All infant and toddler rooms are on the first floor, with large open windows and doors to their age-appropriate playgrounds. A few key design elements to ensure continual sight and sound monitoring include an infant changing station positioned so that teachers will never have their back to the room or other students. Infant classrooms are paired, sharing a kitchen. The kitchens are centered and open to one another with a semi-circle design to promote a line of sight into the play area for teachers preparing bottles and food in the kitchens. The pairing of infant rooms also allows for staff flexibility, with aides able to float from room to room to support the needs of either classroom when appropriate.

Toddler rooms kitchens are also paired, but a sliding barn door that can close if one class is engaged in a quiet activity or nap time. The center of the classroom is open and spacious, for the flexibility of learning activities. The teacher desk is along the wall, with computer hookup to a large wall monitor so that teachers can pull up pictures and video to support their lesson plans. Large windows and door connect to their playground. The window sills are intentionally low so that the toddlers can look out. A sink – at child height, of course – is located just inside the playground door so that students can wash their hands coming in from play. Preschool and Kindergarten Rooms are located on the second floor in a similar layout and with the same primary design goals as the toddler rooms.

The new Child Care Center promotes wellbeing and development through unique design details. A quarter circle stair step was designed into a corner in each room, with three 4” steps to allow older infants to learn how to crawl up and down stairs. The stairs are covered in a fun, fuzzy carpet that is waterproof, stain resistant, and easily cleaned. The infant rooms also have a half-wall ‘vestibule’ for parents to check in, complete with a bench for parents to put the booties on their shoes to walk into the classroom if needed, and a built-in car-seat storage cabinet so if one parent drops off and another picks up, the car seat can stay with the child.


Security and safety were the primary design considerations. The facility has many security cameras throughout the interior and exterior. Parents are provided access cards to swipe in at the main door, and a video intercom is provided for guests and visitors. Exit stair doors and the elevator doors are also access controlled, to prevent the little ones from getting stuck/trapped/hide in the elevator or stairs. Additionally, playground gates all have alarmed panic hardware, to alert staff if a passerby is trying to enter the playground.


The design team worked with the narrow site to create an undulating topography that promotes exploration, changes in materials, and creates ‘destinations’ throughout the play space. The theme is ‘natural playscape’ – to reinforce the branding of the hospital but also provide a unique play experience that promotes learning through exploration rather than just dropping play structures on a flat site.

The design team wrapped the building with playgrounds so that they are accessible from every first-floor classroom and the south end of the building. This provides both security and a natural (and vibrant) extension of the classrooms with large windows connecting the spaces.


Built with all ‘outsulation’ – all insulation was continuous rigid insulation installed outside of the building sheathing to improve thermal performance. No thermal breaks with old school fiberglass batt insulation!

We applied a special UV resistant coating on the CMU wall that separates Phase 1 and Phase 2; this allowed us to protect the finished interior of phase 1 while saving cost vs. installing then removing a temporary cladding system on that wall. Most coatings are not resistant move than 60 days to the UV rays of the sun; we applied a coating that is resistant 180 days in order to provide the construction team time to erect and enclose the Phase 2 building before that coating starts to break down.

The lighting control system includes ‘vacancy sensors’ in each room. The difference between an occupancy sensor and a vacancy sensor is that a vacancy sensor requires a user to manually turn ‘ON’ a light, where the occupancy sensor automatically turns it on upon sensing you enter. This saves energy when the outside natural light is enough to satisfy the needs of the user when they enter a room, instead of the occ sensory assuming you always need more light. Both systems turn the lights off after a programmed amount of time after it senses you’ve exited a room.

The lobby lights also monitor the amount of daylight coming in through the curtain wall and dim or turn them off when they’re not needed.

Buck Wince presents on Healthy Urbanism™ at BOMA 2019 Medical Office Buildings & Healthcare Real Estate Conference

Philip “Buck” Wince, Jr., AIA, LEED® AP is a featured panelist at the 2019 BOMA Medical Office Buildings & Healthcare Real Estate Conference, May 1-3 in Minneapolis, MN. The session titled, “Healthy Urbanism™: The Next Chapter in Healthcare Design” outlines the opportunities in planning and architecture to “create places of well being to enrich people’s lives,” according to Wince.

The annual BOMA conference hosts over 1,300 senior executives and professionals from hospital and health systems, developers, investors and lenders, property and facility managers, architects and design professionals, brokers and leasing agents, physician owners of real estate and health law and real estate attorneys.

Wince is the Founding Principal and President of Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.) an architecture and planning firm with offices in Ohio, Colorado and Florida. Wellogy trademarked the term Healthy Urbanism™ as it is the core driver and passion behind all of their projects. Healthy Urbanism™ is the integration of intentionally designed elements that enable communities to thrive and prosper. The result is improved physical health, accessibility to health care, healthy food, activity, and social interaction. Wellogy incorporates the core elements of Healthy Urbanism™ into every project they design. This can be as broad as developing a planned community with a hospital led medically integrated facility at the core, and as specific as designing buildings with healthy, sustainable materials that incorporate walking and bike paths. According to Wince, “no matter what the size of the project, the impact can be felt when the built environment is intentionally designed for wellness, creating a ripple effect that places a priority on health”.

Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.) is currently working with Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative (OLC) on The Lake Nona Center for Well Being, located in the heart of Lake Nona’s Medical City in Orlando, FL. The Center for Well Being is the seamless integration of a 130,000 sf, 3-story Wellness Center, a 120,000 sf, 5-story Medical Office Building, and 38,700 sf of Class A retail space. This unique, unprecedented architectural statement will serve as the wellness headquarters for a ground-up, master-planned development of housing, retail, corporate headquarters, entertainment, dining, education, hospitality and healthcare destined to be known as the healthiest community in America.

Buck Wince on Opportunities for Healthcare in Retail

by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.) President and Founding Principal, Buck Wince recently attended the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon convention in Las Vegas, NV. Wince was part of a panel discussion that included Ethan Sullivan, Executive Director, Real Estate/ National Facilities Services at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Chad Pinnell, JLL Managing Director of Healthcare Solutions.

The panel addressed the opportunities in healthcare and retail as occupancy rates drop in malls and large retail areas. Strategically located in heavily populated areas, shopping centers and malls provide a valuable customer base for the competitive healthcare market. Wince is a noted speaker on the topic of “Healthcare as Retail” and was included in the panel to bring his unique perspective and passion to the subject.

It’s All About Location

Wince and Pinnell met while working on a previous project and clicked on their desire to create innovative and creative solutions to the challenges in the retail and healthcare markets. Wince and Pinnell previously presented at The American Marketing Association on the topic, “Healthcare Goes Retail.” According to Wince, “The opportunity for healthcare providers is to perfect a strategic process that delivers a well-located, convenient healthcare experience close to a complementary mix of consumer retail offerings. Today’s healthcare consumers have a choice. We want to make it easy for them to choose.”

Expanding Healthcare’s Reach

Over the past seven years, Wellogy has been heavily involved in innovative healthy community planning engagements. The firm has designed comprehensive, integrated outpatient healthcare facilities including Medically Integrated Fitness Center, FSED’s, Urgent Care, Multi-Specialty MOB’s, and ASC’s in mixed-use communities. Wellogy has branded the approach to creating healthy communities as Healthy Urbanism™. The passion behind Healthy Urbanism™ is a desire to affect the built environment by inspiring new solutions for the way we live. Wellogy designs environments to promote and encourage wellness.

The New Standard in Senior Living

by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

Nursing Homes are a thing of the past. Senior Living is the new buzz word with the design and operations emphasis on LIVING. The evolution of housing options for seniors has been fueled by the revolution of residents and their families requesting more— more daylight, more activity spaces, more options, more rooms and more home-like settings in lieu of a traditional hospital inspired environment. The generation igniting the change and growth in Senior Living facilities is a group of fascinating, complex, resilient, and active individuals. According to a recent article in Leisure Care, “The Impact The Baby Boomers Have on Senior Living,” the number of Americans over 65 will more than double to 98 million by 2060. They are highly educated, living longer, and wealthier than previous generations.

Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd. Architecture) teamed with developer NexCore Group and senior housing operator Meridian to respond to the changing market needs of Senior Living. Their new model for housing, assisted living, and memory care is creating a buzz in the industry and advancing changes in the market set for enormous growth in the next decade.

Thoughtful planning and research went into the new layout and design. The team designed and constructed three similar facilities, one in Marysville, Ohio and two in Indiana. The development team set goals for innovation and prioritized resident and staffing safety in this newly created Assisted Living (AL) /Memory Care (MC) prototype. The outcome created a new facility that left behind institutional associations for AL and MC residents and their families.
The interior design strategy created light-filled activity areas of open public spaces which took cues from local architecture. A welcoming double height space greets you upon entering Assisted Living with a central hearth to organize the public space. Open Lounges and a Bistro encourage interactions between residents, staff, and families.
The interior architecture drew from Ohio rural architecture using barn doors, a gambrel roof form, reclaimed wood, and wrought iron light fixtures while also integrating very modest modern appeal to residents and their adult children. Residents have several room choices including multiple studio options, one bedroom options, and a handful of two-bedroom units.
Operational safety, staffing efficiency, and comfort of residents guided the design of the Memory Care element. A truly open floor plan with a skylit pathway for resident circulation was designed to have a direct line of site from the caregiver desk in memory care. Within the loop path are programmatic options for interaction. Life stations are areas that are equipped with varying tasks for MC residents to execute.
Activities areas, lounge areas, and even a front porch are other spaces residents can experience. The simple idea behind Meridian’s operating philosophy is to get residents suffering from memory impairment out of their rooms and involved with constant activity.
Goals for this project:
  • Keep rates at levels comparable to older facilities in the market giving a huge boost to marketability;
  • Increase Memory Care staff time actively engaged with residents due to the open concept;
  • With less corners and hallways to walk down, with only one entrance to staff and with both dining rooms attached to the main kitchen, there is a reduced FTE count;
  • Get Memory Care residents actively engaged outside their rooms for long periods during the day allowing for these residents to sleep soundly through the night;
  • Increase the building area devoted to Memory Care activity space without increasing budget or sacrificing overall key performance metrics of SF/unit;
  • Improve sight lines of staff to resident rooms in Memory Care;
  • Make a connection to the local community and engage community members within the facility through the use of local art, pictures and reused materials;
  • Use familiarity of local landmarks to make transition to elder care more seamless;
  • Use of sensory gardens and life stations to engage residents;
  • Use architectural design to eliminate view to med carts;
  • Provide in-house medical services for residents for ease of transportation;
  • Provide limited access point to building for resident safety; and
  • Maintain circadian rhythms through use of appropriate and consistent lighting levels through daylight and nightfall.
Walnut Crossing was named a Finalist in the category of Post-Acute and Senior Living Facilities- Best New Ground-Up Development by Healthcare Real Estate Insights, a national trade publication covering the healthcare real estate sector.

A trip inside the new Yellow Submarine themed Mellow Mushroom in Lima, Ohio

by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

On a number of occasions and to anyone that will listen, I have professed my love for the Funky Q. Chicken pizza from Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers. The sweet applewood smoked bacon, hand tossed, lightly dusted with a magical mixture of cornmeal and parmesan wonderfulness crust, the special combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses blended just right so as not to distract attention from the tender and tasty barbecue chicken, the caramelized red onions perfectly placed… this pizza is worthy of a song. Beetles inspired titles that come to mind…”I Want to Hold Your Pizza” “Can’t Buy Me Love, But You Can Buy Me Pizza,” or “Let Me Eat.”

When the new Mellow Mushroom opened in Lima, Ohio, I invited my friend and fellow Mellow fan, Linda to take a road trip with me to check it out. Somewhere on a two-lane road in the early dusk hours, she got up the courage to confront me and expressed her concern that maybe my obsession with Mellow Mushroom had moved to a new level… that of Mellow groupie. Driving three hours on a Saturday to check out a new restaurant- was it really necessary when there are two Mellow Mushroom’s within 15 minutes of my house? It was “Friends and Family Night,” the big event when a new restaurant opens its doors to test their skill and service on a select group of customers. I neglected to tell Linda that the architecture firm I work for had just finished the new location, our nineth Mellow Mushroom project in six years.

Copyright Scott Pease/ Pease Photography

In case you’re not familiar with the Mellow Mushroom franchise, or “friendchise” as they like to call themselves, one of the interesting design concepts that the headquarters adheres to is that each location is designed differently and preferably with a theme and elements to support the design. In the case of the Mellow Mushroom Lima, owners Norm & Jane Moser enthusiastically chose a theme based around “Under the Sea/ Yellow Submarine.” The Moser’s daughter Lacey, a former member of the U.S. Navy, runs the store.

The original artwork of this location reflects the iconic design of the late sixties and was designed by Dreamscape Art & Design. Each location celebrates its community with unique, vibrant creations and pays homage to the history and appeal of the area. When you visit Mellow Mushroom Lima, you can learn more about the artwork and the artists by engaging in an online gallery available on your smart phone.

In this Mellow Mushroom a giant 3-D graphic of a smiling woman that greets you from the wall above the kitchen. Adorned with a crazy, colorful collection of computer wires as her hair, local residents will recognize the woman as Lima born comedian Phyllis Diller, a pioneering female stand-up comedian known for her “electric hair.”

Copyright Scott Pease/ Pease Photography

The Lima Locomotive Works, a local company for which the town was well known, gets a nod in the restaurant in the entry wall above the kitchen. Also included in the design is a baby Kewpee representing the long-time, popular local establishment Kewpee Hamburgers headquartered in Lima.

Keeping with the hippy theme of the Mellow Mushroom brand, an actual VW Bus back jets out from the bar back. Under the overhang of the bar, metal plumbing curved upward serves as purse hooks for bar patrons. Phone charging plug-ins with USB outlets are located beneath the overhang as well, both at the inside bar and on the four seasons patio bar.

Copyright Scott Pease/ Pease Photography

Across from the bar is a room with high top tables, a funky Mellow Mushroom inspired Abbey Road painting, port holes for windows and a garage door that allow the room to be closed off completely for meetings events. A large mounted screen on one end of the room can be used for television viewing or presentations. A series of side swivel doors open to the drink station or can be closed off for privacy. The day of our photo shoot, the room was being utilized by a group for a training session.

The bar area is accessed from the four season patio as well. Casement windows can be opened in the summer to allow for fresh air and closed off and the ceiling heaters utilized in the winter to maintain a comfortable temperature. The bar area features bright yellow windows that can be closed off allowing the entire patio to serve as a private meeting space.

Copyright Scott Pease/ Pease Photography

Also unique to each location is that they have one feature table set apart creatively from the rest of the seating. The Lima location has not one, but four feature tables. The round campfire table located on the patio has the charm, but not the sparks and smell of an actual campfire.

Copyright Scott Pease/ Pease Photography

In the main dining area, the community table continues the “Under the Sea” theme with a table that resembles a hollowed out log with sea sponges whimsically dangling from above. Hidden crystals are embedded in the top of the table with its knotty and textured sides.

Copyright Scott Pease/ Pease Photography

The very obvious feature table is the Yellow Submarine which seats multiple parties and gives patrons the feeling of being under water in a submarine with the moving water effects from a projector on the interior walls.

Copyright Scott Pease/ Pease Photography

The Jellyfish table, with art titled, “Psychejellic,” is an enclosed semi-circular booth with a log table and jellyfish lights floating above. The central jellyfish emits a UV/black light adding to the appeal of the groovy seating. A funky ode to John Lennon details the exterior of the booth.

Photo on the upper right jellyfish table – Copyright Scott Pease/ Pease Photography

The Mellow Mushroom Lima design is the result of pure enthusiasm and passion and it shines through in every detail of the dining environment. An upbeat and energizing experience, the restaurant is the JLo, or triple threat of restaurants offering an explosion of flavor, a unique modern art gallery environment and yes, did we forget to mention fashion! The House of Shroom has its own website, fashion show, and following of their lifestyle brand. This is a brand that really has fun with its branding. More than another pizza place, Mellow Mushroom is an experience that feeds the senses.

Dave Plunkett and Norm Moser pose with the metal of King of Pop on the Mellow Mushroom Lima patio.
The World-Famous Dave Plunkett

Have you ever met someone who injects enthusiasm into everything they do? That’s architect Dave Plunkett. Dave was the architect and project manager of the Mellow Mushroom Lima project. We’re pretty sure Dave dreamed about this project every night for about a year, except for the night before the presentation to the Mellow Mushroom headquarters. Dave was scheduled to fly to Atlanta to present the designs for the Lima location. He was working in the upstairs section of our offices late into the evening to get everything just right for his show and tell of the designs. Much to his surprise, everyone had gone home and locked him upstairs. Caught up in his work, Dave lost track of time and after many failed attempts and calls for help, he did what every super hero architect would do and broke down the locked door and raced to catch his flight, his cape blowing in the breeze behind him.

The client for the Mellow Mushroom Lima project, Norm Moser nicknamed Dave, “The World-Famous Dave Plunkett.” The pair made a strong, united force of creative and driven energy on this project and their passion for leaving no detail untouched shines through in the many clever and innovative touches throughout the design.

A “not so normal” day at BGSU

hr_view1_7201Copyright, Scott Pease/ Pease Photography.

by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

Located 30 minutes south of Toledo, Ohio, and a little over two hours north of Columbus, Ohio, Bowling Green State University is anything but normal. Other than a brief visit for a soccer tournament some years ago, I had not experienced the flavor of BGSU until a recent photoshoot of the Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.) newly renovated Bowen Thompson Career Center, 2nd Floor Student Union, and Falcon Outfitters campus store. The spirit of the campus caught me off guard. Helpful, engaging, welcoming, energetic, diverse, and dynamic are all words that pop up as I reflect on my impression of the students and staff who were graciously willing to participate in our photoshoot.

It’s always exciting to see the project materials in the office, listen to the architects, project managers, and interior designers discussing the renovation, watching the layout designs develop, and seeing the selected finishes. It’s another thing to witness the finished space in use.

As with any project, there were many goals at the onset of this renovation.
– Relocate the campus store from the 2nd to the first floor and infill an existing staircase to the second floor.
– Move Student Employment to this building, move the Career Center to the 2nd floor to create a single location for student employment needs.
– Create additional meeting and interview rooms in addition to workspace for staff and overall office support needs.

hr_view8_7447Copyright, Scott Pease/ Pease Photography.

Meetings with user groups were conducted, and the program of requirements developed. Student input was involved as the space began to evolve. The new spaces include two floors of the Student Union and make full use of the open spaces. Every detail matters in a forward-thinking renovation. The demands and needs of today’s students have evolved since the last major renovation in 2002.

Looking around the 2nd-floor lobby space, nearly everyone was plugged into an electronic device- the chemistry study group, the online shopper, the paper writer, the social media surfer, the student calling home, the snapper and the texter. This was not the case in 2002, so updates are a welcome accommodation to today’s student population. Comfortable furniture with handles on the back for easy mobility and reconfiguring, multiple tables and work areas to spread out work or lunch line the large windows overlooking the picturesque campus walkway and allows for natural daylight to energize the space. Large electronic window blinds that filter daylight can be accessed during sunnier days as easily as the furniture can be adjusted to avoid screen glares.

hr_view6_7355Copyright, Scott Pease/ Pease Photography.

Signature BGSU orange is sprinkled throughout the space in the carpets, upholstered furniture, and walls. Lighting was used as a design element and provides a unique and striking detail to the space. The bold intersecting ceiling lighting design was inspired by the concept of a “career superhighway,” depicting the many paths and job changes the student will take to form a career.

hr_view7_7393Copyright, Scott Pease/ Pease Photography.

The new Career Center + Student Employment Services combines two previously separate areas into a one-stop-shop for employment. The move of the Career Center to a visual and centrally located building on campus supports the University’s goal to provide every student with the opportunity to have an internship prior to graduation. The new location, resources, and additional meeting and interview rooms support the mission to help students transition from student to a post-graduation job market.

We witnessed students using employment computers to research jobs and prepare for interviews. While we were there, a prominent company arrived to set up for interviews in the newly redesigned interview and conference spaces. The area house several smaller rooms designed for meeting and interview areas. Each equipped with large wall-mounted televisions and one of my favorite features- the tables have a center hidden plug-in spots so there is no need to worry about tripping over a cord plugged into a sidewall. Speaking of plugins- they are everywhere, from the bottoms of the benches to the high top tables.

hr_view7_7416Copyright, Scott Pease/ Pease Photography.

The Career Center + Employment Services has another appealing and unique feature that allows it to be shut down at night. A clear glass accordion door closes off the space after work hours allowing students to still utilize the bulk of the space.

img_3014The campus store, Falcon Outfitters was previously on two floors. The central stairway connecting the two floors was infilled to create more usable space for the store and the 2nd-floor Career Center + Student Employment Services and lobby. The new design offers an in-house Apple store, “ZiggaByte,” textbook rentals, dorm and art supplies, BGSU clothing, gifts, and merchandise, as well as fingerprinting and background checks; an added convenience for those going into teaching, coaching or volunteering.

hr_view3_7266Copyright, Scott Pease/ Pease Photography.

The store environment is highly visible, fresh, bright and packed with school spirit. Interesting LED lighting and industrial finishes complement the inviting space. Feature walls accents product groupings and moveable center aisle displays allow for flexibility in merchandising the space.
hr_view9_7490Copyright, Scott Pease/ Pease Photography.

Located at the back of the store is a merchandise and textbook online ordering center and pick up area. Falcon Outfitters serves as the one-stop-shop for anything you need to get on campus. The new areas support the needs of today’s students while allowing for flexibility as space demands change.

The cool fall day turned into a warm and welcoming experience as we wrapped up the photoshoot. There’s something very ironic about going to Bowling Green and seeing orange everywhere. It’s also ironic that in this college of “Normals” is an exceptional spirit and energy with the drive to evolve and excel at providing an anything but normal college experience.


Destination Health & Wellness

HR_0082by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

A place for medically integrated fitness…
The much-anticipated MC Fitness & Health opened in January 2016. A welcome addition to Delaware County, Ohio, it houses the second emergency room in the county, a fully equipped and staffed medically integrated fitness facility, physicians offices, physical and occupational therapy, sports medicine, women’s health, imaging, laboratory, exercise studios, pools, spa, café and community meeting spaces.



Before the opening of MC Fitness & Health, I had the opportunity to spend a day in the facility directing a photoshoot. As a member of the two firm design teams that produced the project- OLC Architecture, Interiors and Aquatics and Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd. Architecture), I finally experienced the result of months of work and planning in our office. The facility was empty of patrons, but not without life. The energy was starting to build as the array of fitness equipment was in place; the pool was filled with calm, clear water, and the staff offices, once empty, now had post-it notes with reminders in place. When we returned three weeks later for a follow-up photoshoot, the grand opening for the fitness facility had just occurred, and the Emergency Department was preparing to open the following day.



The walls were energized with vibrant graphics, the cafe’ was open, one of the local high schools occupied the 25-meter pool making waves during their daily swim team practice, and the facility was engaging the community in activity previously void on this corner of Delaware County. We witnessed women socializing over tandem treadmill walking, a bariatric patient taking the stairs to the fitness area, a recent heart surgery patient receiving exercise equipment instruction and assistance from a trainer, medical staff enjoying a healthy lunch in the Dash Café, a young woman with a knee injury strength training in the weight area, a man jumping rope in the cardio studio, a couple walking the upper level track, patients in the physical medicine area waiting to see their doctors, training in the laboratory, a senior fitness class in the smaller pool, and preparations for a meeting in both sides of the community conference rooms. It was alive with people on a wellness journey to make their lives better, to make their bodies stronger, to heal. Over 8 hours, we ran into several of the same people utilizing different parts of the facility from the workout area to the café and waiting areas. The years of planning had evolved into photo-ready moments, capturing the vision of the team.



MC Fitness & Health is nestled in one of Ohio’s fastest-growing counties. Delaware County has seen a 58% growth rate since 2000, according to the Delaware County Community Health Improvement Plan. The updated estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau reports that Delaware County has approximately 189,113 residents.

A case for medically integrated fitness…                                                                                                   

I am one of 189,113. Our family of 5 moved to Delaware County in 2000. Part of the big suburban sprawl in the early 2000’s, we built our home in a new neighborhood full of families with young kids. The community that in 2000 had one public outdoor pool and no indoor pools has seen incredible growth in population and facilities to accommodate the active residents. Over the past three years, I have come to realize the great value of easy access to medical care, the benefits of medically integrated fitness, and the convenience that an all-inclusive facility like MC Fitness & Health can provide to a family or individual with a complex medical condition.

Medical conditions can arise at any given time in our lives and in varying degrees of severity. Having access to outstanding care and convenient follow through for a recovery plan is key in times of medical upheaval. Our family logged thousand of miles traveling for medical needs and we found ourselves assembling and piecing together a plan of recovery to save our 13-year-old son. Three years ago, he suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke as the result of a brain aneurysm caused by a congenital birth defect known as an AVM. The condition was undiagnosed with no sign of distress until the morning it ruptured, a surprise to all of us.

From the onset and through the course of ongoing recovery, we have interacted with medical services requiring five brain surgeries, a two-month stay in the hospital, weekly lab work, speech, physical and occupational therapy, AFO and bracing, Botox injections, weekly visits for serial casting, to name a few. One complicating factor in the recovery plan was the piecing together of multiple services at multiple locations, some days spending more time traveling than the actual appointments. The care was outstanding, the traveling and coordinating- draining. To make life more interesting, our older son had knee surgery due to a bone fragment and was on crutches for six weeks and in physical therapy for three months. Then, to keep things entertaining and because we were getting used to our new life of medical issues, it happened again a year later. Another knee surgery for another bone fragment, crutches, therapy… then a fractured wrist. My older son’s medical appointments were at one location, therapy 15 miles away at another location. All the while, driving our younger son to the hospital (an hour round trip) from home for weekly blood work and to therapy requiring another hour-long round trip drive each visit, three times a week. We bought an exercise bike to have at home, bought lots of therapy aides, and joined a gym at the advice of both boys’ therapists. When you are dealing with medical conditions, life must go on. People must eat, sleep, work, play sports, and tend to everyday demands.

While the story is unique to my family, many face similar challenges when adjusting to life with a medical condition for themselves or a family member. Organizing, coordinating, and participating in healing efforts can be complicated by proximity to services and ease of use. Healthcare needs are best met when they offer convenience and affordability. Facilities like MC Fitness & Health not only offer great convenience in times of medical disruption, but they provide an opportunity to be a proactive player in your health and future wellness. The blending of expert clinical advice and dynamic fitness instruction in a single location is critical in the overall cycle of care.

Inclusive facilities offer health benefits for the support team as well as the patient. Aside from the obvious convenience of scheduling and proximity of appointments, as a caregiver, I would gladly welcome the opportunity to walk off some stress on a treadmill or enjoy a healthy dinner in the café while my son is in therapy. To improve the best possible health outcomes, health systems need to recognize the proactive benefits of uniting clinical care with medically integrated fitness and dedicate resources to develop inclusive and convenient facilities focused on restoring health and preventing future health issues. When this is accomplished and utilized to its fullest, the patients’ cycle of care will improve, as will the entire healthcare system.

MC Fitness & Health, Mount Carmel Health Systems is located at 7100 Graphics Way in Lewis Center, just north of Columbus, Ohio. Lewis Center is in Delaware County and is approximately 25 minutes directly north of Franklin County, where the State’s Capital and The Ohio State University reside.

Developer: NexCore Group
Architect of Record: OLC Architecture, Interiors and Aquatics
Medical Architect: Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.)
Power Wellness: Fitness Center Management
Construction: Elford

Photography: Pease Photography
Copyright, Scott Pease/Pease Photography