NORTH CANTON — Aultman Hospital and Akron Children's Hospital will partner on construction of a pediatric primary care facility off Whipple Avenue NW.

Akron Children's North Canton Health Center will be part of a campus that includes the Aultman Medical Group's diagnostic center and the former North Canton Medical Foundation.

A three-story, 38,000-square-foot facility will be built into the hillside facing Glenwood Street SW and east of the Whipple Avenue NW intersection. Ground will be broken soon, and work should be finished by late next year. Akron Children's will enter a long-term lease with Aultman.

The move will allow Akron Children's to bring operations from three locations around Stark County under one roof. Akron Chrildren's plans to move pediatric primary care, about a dozen pediatric specialty care practices and rehabilitation services into the building. Many of those operations already are in Aultman facilities, including the hospital's main campus in Canton.

The Aultman campus in North Canton is being transformed into a family care center campus, said Chris Remark, chief executive officer at Aultman Hospital.

The two hospitals have worked together on projects since 2008 and have spent the past 18 months reviewing plans that led to this project, Remark said.

"We're excited about what can happen on that campus," he said, adding that Aultman and Akron Children's are leveraging the strengths of two independent systems to provide care for children.

Grace Wakulchik, president of Akron Children’s, said the facility is the most recent in a series of collaborations between the hospitals.

"We are very happy at how the services we now offer in Stark County have been embraced by the families here," she said.

The outpatient, emergency room and primary care facilities operated by Akron Children's had visits from more than 134,000 children from Stark County during 2016.

Remark said more activity is anticipated at Aultman's campus in North Canton. The hospital hopes to incorporate the Stark Parks walking trail being constructed on Dressler Road NW and Glenwood Street SW into the campus. It's also possible another facility could be built, he said.

The campus is more than buildings, Remark said. "It's an assembly of things centered around family care."

On the first floor of the new building will be the North Canton office of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics. It will be the medical home for babies, children and teens staffed by pediatricians, nurse practitioners and pediatric nurses, as well as experts in behavioral and mental health and positive parenting services.

The second floor will have outpatient services for pediatric specialties, such as cardiology, allergy and immunology, neurology, sports medicine, orthopedics, ophthalmology and other areas. The ground level will house physical, occupational, and speech therapy rehabilitation services.

Aultman built its first building on the north campus in 1998. The hospital added North Canton Medical Foundation in 2013. Akron Children's also aligned with the North Canton Medical Foundation's pediatrics practice in 2013.

Edd Pritchard is a staff writer for The Canton Repository.