Growth at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Jim Porter, P.E.,

My grandmother had a saying: “This too shall pass.” With all that happened in 2020 (some of which followed into 2021), I kept telling myself to keep my head down, go to work, and this too shall pass.  Although that helped me get through 2020, it also almost blinded me to some of the truly great things that happened throughout the year. I was heavily involved in the design of the Research Building 4 (RB4) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH), a 300,000-square-foot addition to the Research Building 3 (RB3). The project is one of my career highlights, yet it seemed diminished by the pandemic that seemed to swallow the year. Dinner would usually follow this type of project with my coworkers and their spouses and a groundbreaking ceremony. But celebrations were few and far between in 2020. Instead, we had a rather unceremonious transition from A/E Microsoft Teams Meetings to OACM Microsoft Teams Meetings.

Months later, I got an email with a couple of aerial photos of the project’s construction progress. The picture made me feel proud, it made me feel hopeful, and it truly made me feel OLD! I started at HAWA in September of 2002, brought on because the firm had been hired to design the MEP systems for the C-Building. This clinical laboratory building would become the new south entry to the hospital. In the eighteen years since, I have been a part of almost every major NCH project that HAWA has been involved with: HVAC Engineer on C-Building, Plumbing Engineer on J-West, Energy Modeler for the Central Energy Plant and RB3 (both of which were LEED Gold projects), and PM and Lead Mechanical Engineer on the Faculty Office Building, Behavioral Health Pavilion and now RB4. When I look at this picture, I’m in awe of the amount of good that has come from projects with which I have been involved.  Even in the midst of a pandemic, there are events to enjoy and be proud of. I am glad that email came to me that day – 2020 might have been a tough year for us all, but that photo gave me something that the pandemic could not swallow.

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