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  Akron Children’s Hospital Announces Plans To Expand Emergency Department  
  Facility Will Expand From 9,600 sq.-ft. to 34,700 sq.-ft.:   July 15, 2021 Edition  
     Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley will be expanding the emergency department on its Beeghly campus and has received a $1 million gift from Leonard J. ‘Lenny’ Fisher, CEO of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt, to help support the project.
      The donation has been recognized with the naming of the Leonard J. Fisher Family building. Construction on the project is expected to begin this fall with an anticipated spring 2023 opening.
      In Oct., 2020, Fisher was recognized by the Boardman Civic Association as its Business Person of the Year.
      “I am pleased to support such an important initiative in the Mahoning Valley,” Fisher said. “The health of our children is so important, especially in today’s climate. And providing support for the emergency department, which has seen explosive growth, is a way that we can help impact the community for generations to come.”
      Since the opening of the Beeghly campus in December 2008, there have been over 348,000 visits to the hospital’s emergency department. The current facility has the capacity to see 80 patients per day, but the department regularly cares for well above that almost daily.
      The new facility will increase the emergency department’s square footage from 9,600 to 34,700. The emergency department will feature 23 treatment rooms designed with input from patient families and staff.
      “The need to expand this department is critical,” said Grace Wakulchik, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital. “Mr. Fisher’s generous gift is allowing us to get the fundraising for the expansion off the ground. We are so grateful for this support and for his long-time advocacy for children’s health care and Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.”
      In addition, this gift will help fund three behavioral health rooms specially designed to take patients who are facing emotional and behavioral emergencies. The current department has one such room, which is often occupied.
      “Our expanded emergency department is a major investment in the Mahoning Valley community and continues to build on the commitment we began when we opened the campus in 2008,” said Paul Olivier, vice president of Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. “It is through the generosity of donors, like Lenny Fisher, that makes projects like this possible.”
      “While we are off to a great start with this generous gift from Mr. Fisher,” chik said. “We still have funds to raise. The generosity of the Mahoning Valley is unparalleled, and we look forward to working with donors and community leaders to bring the project to a successful conclusion to ensure the children and families in the Mahoning Valley have the access to care they deserve.”
      Lenny Fisher is the chairman of the board of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream. He has been a long-time supporter of children’s health in the Mahoning Valley through his support of Akron Children’s Hospital. His support has included the Vision for our Valley’s Children Campaign Fund, the Pediatric Cardiology Fund and the Mahoning Valley Fund. In addition, Mr. Fisher helped launch the Koins for Kids Campaign that challenges schools in Trumbull and Mahoning counties to raise awareness and funds to support Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.
      Handels was founded in July, 1945 by Alice Handel, who began serving ice cream out of her husband’s gas station in Youngstown. For many years the company operated its business in the Fosterville area of Youngstown, before moving to Boardman.
      Since then, Handel’s has grown to include locations in California, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Oregon. The menu has expanded to include over 100 flavors of homemade ice cream and yogurt. Handel’s success has been documented in many national publications including USA Today, People Magazine, Chocolatier Magazine, and US News and World Report.
      Recently published books “The Ten Best of Everything” and “Everybody Loves Ice Cream” both recognize Handel’s as one of the best ice creams in the world.
 
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