Pickerington Times-Sun

Ohio Health unveils plans for medical campus


OhioHealth has unveiled its plans for a $42 million medical campus the hospital system intends to build on a 60-acre site located at the northwest corner of Refugee Road and Hill Road North, behind the Hill Road Plaza in Pickerington.

Officials from OhioHealth appeared before Pickerington's Planning and Zoning Commission July 9 to seek approval for the 150,000-square-foot medical facility's site plan, architecture and landscaping.

The OhioHealth Pickerington campus is slated to open in January 2015.

In addition to an emergency room, it will have outpatient offices, including imaging services. OhioHealth officials estimate the facility will eventually employ 180 people.

Todd Sloan of the Daimler Group, the Columbus-based firm developing the medical campus, said the Pickerington facility's design matches OhioHealth's "brand" and will be relevant when the time comes to accommodate future development on the site.

"OhioHealth is trying to create a timeless facility (that) can be sustainable," Sloan said.

"We'll (construct) it phase after phase and have these buildings be related to each other," he said.

OhioHealth wants to initially construct two buildings on its Pickerington Campus: a 47,300-square-foot medical office building and a 96,5000-square-foot ambulatory care center.

"We have to design the facility from the inside out," Sloan said.

"There's very unique activity inside, but we'll make it work in a 150,000-square-foot facility," he said.

OhioHealth is proposing a right-in and right-out curb cut along Refugee Road and two full-movement curb cuts along the proposed Stonecreek Drive extension.

Discussions about whether OhioHealth would seek a tax increment financing district to help pay for the Stonecreek Drive extension and other road improvements, such as the widening of Refugee Road, are ongoing.

OhioHealth's initial goal was to have the city finance the Stonecreek Drive extension, which would function as a loop road through the hospital's property, through a TIF agreement.

Pickerington, however, is looking at the long-term impact such a development will have on its overall road infrastructure, particularly between Refugee Road and the city limits, as the project develops.

City officials have made it clear the city doesn't want to pay for public infrastructure out of its General Fund and the development should be self-sustaining.

OhioHealth has commissioned its own traffic impact study to determine the potential impact of the development.

"The city is looking at the entire (Refugee) Road corridor, OhioHealth is looking at (the impact) of their site," said Bill Vance, Pickerington city manager.

He said the transportation issues will "come to the forefront at the final plat review."

The final plat review will have to undergo future approval by the City Planning and Zoning Commission, City Council's Service Committee and finally City Council.

OhioHealth's site plan also includes a proposed Helipad located west of the Ambulatory Care Center.

Commission member Ted Hackworth expressed concern helicopters would fly "too close to transmission lines."

"There are a whole set of regulations to put in a helicopter pad," Sloan said.

"They land in tight spaces and downtown corridors," he said.

"The path of travel is illuminated by colored lights. That process will be part of our final plan," Sloan said.

OhioHealth notified the commission it applied for both a building height variance and parking space variance to the City Board of Zoning Appeals.

It's two proposed buildings are projected to be 67.5 feet and 80 feet tall, respectively. The city's zoning code mandates no building be taller than 40 feet in a suburban office district.

OhioHealth also desires to have significantly less parking than what is required. While the city mandates 1,093 parking spaces, OhioHealth is requesting 564 spaces in its site plan.

The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved OhioHealth's application for a certificate of appropriateness as to the building's design.

"The building itself looks great," said Brian Bosch, a commission member.

"I'm an engineer, and this actually looks like a nice building to me, he said.

"I understand what you've done and why you've done it."

Other issues to be resolved prior to the final plat review include where to place the access points on Refugee Road.