The new Nationwide Children's Hospital Close to Home Center scheduled to open in early 2010 at Diley Ridge Medical Park will fill a local gap in service, Canal Winchester development director Chris Strayer said.

The new Nationwide Children's Hospital Close to Home Center scheduled to open in early 2010 at Diley Ridge Medical Park will fill a local gap in service, Canal Winchester development director Chris Strayer said.

"There is a gap in medical services in southeastern central Ohio," he said, noting that the closest facilities are on East Broad Street, Lancaster and downtown Columbus.

"Diley Ridge adds another resource to the community, and the Children's Close To Home Center will offer medical services to children specifically," Strayer said. "This is fantastic."

Nationwide Children's Hospital will locate a 6,700-square-foot Close To Home Center on the first floor of the 46,000-square-foot medical office building adjacent to the emergency care center at Diley Ridge. The Diley Ridge campus is a $35-million joint venture between Mount Carmel Health System and Fairfield Medical Center.

The Close To Home Center will offer pediatric urgent care, laboratory and radiology services beginning in early 2010. The center in Canal Winchester will be Children's ninth Close To Home center, according to information from the hospital. Existing locations include Dublin, Gahanna, Columbus, Hilliard, Newark, Ironton and Westerville.

Nationwide Children's Hospital CEO Steve Allen, M.D., said the new Canal Winchester location is "indicative of our commitment to continue serving our neighborhood communities and will allow us to better serve pediatric patients and their families in the southeast Columbus area."

Ron Whiteside, Diley Ridge president and executive vice president of Mount Carmel Health System, said the Children's Hospital expansion will help medical services keep pace with area growth.

"Having Nationwide Children's Hospital expand its Close To Home network here is a perfect complement to the emergency care center as a growing number of families move into northern Fairfield County," Whiteside said.

The emergency center at Diley Ridge, also scheduled to open in early 2010, is expected to have access to ground and air transport services. It will be staffed by emergency medicine physicians, emergency-trained nurses, ER technicians and support associates.

The facility will also offer imaging services such as MRI, CT scan, x-ray, ultrasound, and mammography, as well as a clinical pharmacy and laboratory, according to a press release about the Children's center.