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Children’s hospital considering downtown for expansion

IRONTON — Officials with Nationwide Children’s Hospital confirmed Tuesday that the Columbus-based pediatric facility “has identified a site of interest” in its move to expand child care services within the city of Ironton.

Mary-Ellen Peacock, media specialist for Children’s, confirmed that the hospital was in discussions to close on a lease agreement for a specific location, but would not identify the site nor a timetable as to when the expansion would take place.

“Right now the planning department is not ready to say anything publicly at this time,” Peacock said. She did say that the expansion would be a ChildLab center only and not a full-fledged Close to Home clinic.

Peacock added the hospital’s planning committee was considering locations that were stand alone offices and “had the ability to sustain a ChildLab center.”

One possible site for the expansion The Tribune learned Tuesday, could be a vacant medical unit downtown at 407 S. Third St., behind the Social Security Administration Building. A “For Lease” sign in the window showed the property that borders Washington Street to be under the umbrella of Jeffrey Stephenson and the Point Land Investment Group of South Point.

Messages left Tuesday for Stephenson and Point Land Investment Group were not returned.

News of the hospital’s expansion grew steam on May 11 when two help-wanted ads for a laboratory technician and a part-time phlebotomist surfaced on various Web site job boards. Peacock said the postings were placed to see if there would be interest in the community.

Outside of its main Columbus campus, Children’s Hospital operates a variety of regional care and health centers.

ChildLab is a pediatric reference laboratory that allows lab tests to be conducted for patients not only in the Children’s Hospital system, but a variety of health care centers and hospitals. Children’s currently operates 13 ChildLab centers statewide.

With more than 950 medical staff members and 6,000 employees, Nationwide Children’s Hospital has been ranked as one the best hospitals in the United States by both U.S. News & World Report and Child Magazine under the categories of both “Best Hospital” and “Emergency Services.

The hospital is also the pediatric teaching hospital for The Ohio State University School of Medicine.