Nationwide Childrens Counts Down to New Campus Opening

August 22, 2011

Today, Nationwide Children’s Hospital marked a major milestone toward the opening of its expanded downtown campus by unveiling concepts for new hospital interiors, outdoor green space as well as a refreshed identity and logo. The hospital is now less than one year away from completing the most expansive pediatric health care construction project undertaken in U.S. history, and transforming the experience for patients during the more than 1 million visits recorded at Nationwide Children’s annually.

Construction remains on time and on budget. In June, 2012, the new main hospital will open followed shortly thereafter by a third research building. This will complete the hospital’s current campus expansion plan and the addition of 2.4 million square-feet of clinical, research and infrastructure space to Nationwide Children’s existing 2 million square-foot downtown footprint. The expansion is bringing an additional 2,000 hospital and research jobs to Columbus, and generating a projected $1.3 billion in new regional economic activity. Once the new hospital is open, and renovations have been made to the existing hospital, Nationwide Children’s will be the second largest pediatric hospital and research center in America, housing 460 patient beds.

2012 also marks Nationwide Children’s 120th anniversary. While the hospital has grown from a 9-bed institution to a nationally prominent pediatric health care and research institute, it still operates under its founding mission of providing the best possible care to all children and their families regardless of ability to pay.

“This has truly been an incredible and inspiring journey,” said Abigail Wexner, Chair of Nationwide Children’s Board of Directors. “A journey we embarked upon not only to fulfill a demand for patient care services and research, but also to fulfill our fundamental promise to our children, families and community – that no child should ever have to leave central Ohio to receive the absolute finest care available.”

Within the last 10 years alone, Nationwide Children’s has achieved unprecedented growth and success. Annual patient volume has more than doubled (400,000 in 2000 to nearly 1 million today) with the number of employees also doubling (3,700 in 2000 to nearly 8,000 today). Within research, external funding to The Research Institute has more than tripled ($20 million in 2000 to $69 million in 2010), establishing Nationwide Children’s firmly among the nation’s top 10 pediatric research centers. Within the community, Nationwide Children’s has strengthened relationships with the hospital’s neighbors and helped revitalize downtown Columbus’ Southside through initiatives including Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families, Ohio Better Birth Outcomes and the hospital’s anti-obesity efforts. Maintaining the hospital’s mission is ensured through tremendous community support including the transformational $50 million gift from Nationwide Insurance received in 2007 and a $300 million capital campaign. The hospital’s innovation and quality of work have also garnered national recognition including achieving Magnet nursing excellence status in 2005, and ranking on U.S.News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals list every year since 2006.

“Over the last decade, Nationwide Children’s has achieved more, and more quickly than any other pediatric institution,” said Steve Allen, MD, chief executive officer of Nationwide Children’s. “These achievements are made possible by delivering on the promise of our strategic plans. These plans are successful because of the dedication of our talented staff and unprecedented community support. This is a defining moment for our institution as we are creating an experience for our patients and families that is significantly better than any pediatric hospital anywhere.”

When expansion planning began in 2006, the entire patient experience, from arrival to post-discharge, was taken into consideration. The result is a campus that will be easy to access and navigate, inside and outside. Examples include, creation of a drop-off loop with a canopy that runs counter-clockwise, so that the patient is exiting closest to the door; addition of an underground parking garage with a 6-acre park for its roof; and partnering with the City of Columbus to re-work Parsons and Livingston Avenues as boulevards with trees, wider sidewalks and brick crosswalks.

Upon entering the main hospital, Nationwide Children’s patients will encounter a design that is uplifting and optimistic. A nature theme is carried throughout with natural wood textures and imagery of animals, birds and butterflies. The hospital’s interior design team found that in times of stress and anxiety, images of birds, butterflies and notions of flight created feelings of calm, hope and optimism. Images of nature and natural textures connect people to the outdoors.

The “Wows” of the New Main Hospital and Campus – Magic Forest, Animal Friends & 6-Acre Park
The hospital’s design teams heard consistently from providers and families that to achieve optimal health, the patient experience needs to “wow” them. The new hospital features several such “wows” in its public spaces:

  • The space connecting the new construction and the existing main hospital lobby will become the “Magic Forest” with a café, seating and a “seek-and-find” built into the walls. The Magic Forest will have large, fabricated trees and an ever changing light and soundscape to prompt the feeling of being inside a whimsical forest.
  • Artisans from Mansfield, Ohio (Carousel Works) are creating 6-to 8-feet-tall, hand-carved “Animal Friends”, which are crafted from solid wood and will “live” in the hospital. Each Animal Friend has a personality trait that is incorporated into their design, bringing them to life for patients.
  • The 6-acre park just outside the hospital’s new front doors will offer a place of respite for patient families, staff and the community. This greenspace will feature a maze, fragrance garden and quiet sitting and reading areas.

The Magic Forest, Animal Friends and 6-acre park are just a few examples that will play a key role in the healing environment that supports positive distraction for patients and families.

More Upgrades – Security, Patient “Edutainment” & Wayfinding
With the new hospital come many improvements to existing resources. Security will be upgraded through a hotel-style visitor management system. Key cards that families receive during a hospital stay will only allow them access to the patient’s assigned floor and common areas. The key card will also automatically deactivate once the patient is discharged from the hospital.

Patients and their families will also have improved access to health care education and entertainment options. Patient “edutainment” transforms the hospital room into an interactive care environment with education, entertainment, inpatient services and Internet resources, all available with the touch of a bedside button.

A new way finding system will make the hospital easier to navigate. With each pathway denoted by color and new Animal Friends art, and each destination designated by splashes of foliage, families will find their way quickly, effortlessly and efficiently.

“These new facilities, combined with the world-class work of our employees, will create a positive patient experience unlike any other available today,” adds Dr. Allen. “It all adds up to the promise that we make to our patients and families – Everything matters to us, because when it’s your child, everything matters to you.”

Refreshed Identity & Logo
Delivering a positive patient experience goes beyond facility design.  The promise to families that everything matters during a child’s hospital visit is the essence of the hospital’s refreshed logo identity.  The new theme line, “When your child needs a hospital, everything matters,” is central and articulates the care and the attention to detail that goes into the work that every employee does each day.

The balance of the logo remains similar, but the addition of the butterflies, which can be found throughout the interiors for the new hospital, represents optimism, hope and a positive environment of healing. The four butterflies (all indigenous to Ohio), emerge from the blue frame that honors the hospital’s transformational philanthropic relationship with Nationwide Insurance. Other elements of the new identity include the use of a clean, white design denoting advanced technology; black and white photography emphasizing the use of light (this is similar to design applications in the new hospital); and utilizing saturated color at important points (this is also incorporated in the new building’s design).

This new identity launches today and will be phased throughout the organization and completed in time for the hospital opening in June, 2012.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital refreshed logo

Small, hand-carved replicas of “Animal Friends,” some standing up to six-feet-tall in the new main hospital

Rendering of “Magic Forest”; shows large fabricated trees and an example of a large, wooden “Animal Friend”

Rendering of first floor atrium in new main hospital; shows way-finding tools with pathways highlighted by bursts of color at important touch points

Sketch of Nationwide Children’s on Parson’s Avenue looking South: Research Building III in background.

Sketch of Nationwide Children’s new 6-acre park along East Livingston Avenue looking West: new main hospital on right, Research Building III in background

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at