Patient-centered design will set apart the new Centers for Dialysis Care in University Circle

It’s been a year since Mayfield-based Panzica Construction started building a new two-story, 48,000-square-foot flagship treatment facility for the Centers for Dialysis Care (CDC) at Stokes Boulevard and Carnegie Avenue in University Circle—and the project will soon be rounding the bend toward completion.

Construction on the $15.5 million project began in August 2017 and will be completed by February 2019, says project manager Dave Panzica.

CDC is the largest outpatient dialysis care provider in Northeast Ohio, with 18 facilities across the region. Having worked on many CDC projects over the past few years, Panzica is familiar with the special requirements dialysis patients and their caregivers need.

“One of the things we try to do—because the patients are coming several times a week—is to make it as comfortable as possible,” Panzica says, adding that they are building to meet LEED certification. “This facility is going to be one of the biggest facilities in Northeast Ohio.”

Patient-Centered Design

Rhonda Hansal, senior project director with Shaker Square-based Perspectus Architecture, also took patient care into account with the design of the new building.

The entire building was designed with the patient experience in mind. On the first floor, light is filtered through terra cotta louvers into the 63 treatment units, which are arranged around staff posts. David Thompson, Perspectus’ director of design, used 3D modeling to gauge the sun’s angles at various times of day throughout the year to study the exact spacing and depth for the louvers to optimally shade sunlight while still offering outside views.

In fact, the terra cotta sun shading is Hansal’s favorite aspect of the design. “They give the exterior a unique appearance and control the sun without blocking the view,” says Hansal, who has more than two decades of experience working with CDC. “One of the things noticed on earlier projects was [that] patients wanted a nice view out, but sitting there with the sun blinding you, when the shades come down, they don’t come back up. The CDC said, ‘If I’m paying for windows, I want to see out.’”

On the upper floor, the views and daylight are maintained for administration staff at open workstations. There is also large multi-function meeting space, staff conference rooms, and an education suite. A two-story lobby connects the floors with a wall that incorporates linear light fixtures, which serve as a backdrop to an open stair.

Hansal and her team took a lot of care in designing a space that can withstand the trials of being in constant use. “It’s a 24/7 operation and it’s a high-use, high-abuse environment,” she says. “So, you have to make alterations to keep things operational.”

For instance, Hansal says the new facility will have resinous flooring (as opposed to sheet flooring) to keep the floor clean and is seamless to deter wear and tear.

Outside, the straightforward rectangular shape of the building accommodates the bus traffic grid on three sides of the plot of land that once housed the Cleveland NAACP offices and Pinkney-Perry Insurance Agency, the oldest and largest minority-owned insurance agency in Ohio.

A planned plaza not only adds an outdoor place for seating and patient pickups, but also pays homage to Pinkney-Perry’s and the NAACP’s contributions to Cleveland’s Civil Rights movement. A plaque is inscribed with the words: “We salute these organizations for their rich history, Civil Rights initiatives, and unwavering commitment to the community and the people of greater Cleveland.”

Other past inhabitants of the site include Dairymen’s, Hatfield Electric Co., and even a house. To that end, Hansal says the site was a bit of a challenge to clean up and grade properly—with the remnants of an old garage, a pocket of trash, old mattresses where the house had been built over. Plus, the site slopes 12 feet from Carnegie up to Cedar Road. “We found some buried debris that had to be removed, but nothing excessive when you consider the number of different uses the property has seen over the years,” says Hansal.

According to Panzica, they have been installing the aluminum framing and glass on the facade, along with the HVAC system, and they are making good progress on the project. “Luckily, we’re at the point where we’re 100 percent enclosed,” he says. “I think the design team did a good job. They designed it in a way to work very well for patient and the medical staff.”

Panzica should know—he has worked on renovations and construction on 10 of the 15 CDC building projects. “We work really well with the CDC. They have been a great client of ours, and we have a good relationship with Perspectus as well,” he says. “Everyone knows what to expect from one another. We’re like a well-oiled machine.”

Like the rest of the team, Panzica is looking forward to completion on the project. “It’s going to be very cool when it’s done,” he says. “I think everyone will like it.”

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.