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July 18, 2014
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate Cancer Center’s innovative design merges nature and advanced cancer-fighting technology

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Local and state officials and patients cut the ribbon on the new Upstate Cancer Center Friday, in advance of the public preview set for Saturday, July 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Admittance to the public preview is free as is parking, which is available in the West Garage. The Upstate Cancer Center sits immediately west of the main entrance of Upstate University Hospital, at 750 East Adams St. in Syracuse.

“In our biomedical research, and our training of tomorrow’s health care professionals, and now with the new Upstate Cancer Center, Upstate Medical University recommits itself in the fight against cancer,” said Gregory L. Eastwood, MD, interim president of Upstate Medical University. “This facility represents an investment in our region’s health, and partnership with the community who supported so generously our call to give hope a new home. For sons and daughters, moms and dads and all our loved ones, this facility represents the hope of a cancer-free tomorrow.”

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher offered her praise for the new facility. “By coupling world-class medical education with compassionate, life-saving, and cutting-edge patient care, the Upstate Cancer Center embodies how the power of SUNY drives positive change across New York,” Zimpher said. “This monumental achievement is the result of strong partnerships across government, a sound business plan, and a talented Upstate team that executed the vision. I congratulate Dr. Eastwood and the entire Upstate campus community on this important new SUNY medical facility and for continuing Upstate’s long tradition of exemplary public service in Central New York.”

Encompassing 90,000 square feet, the $74 million Upstate Cancer Center will occupy three of the five floors of the new facility that adjoins Upstate University Hospital. The Cancer Center will feature 27 infusion chairs, four linear accelerator vaults for radiation therapy, a high-tech intraoperative suite, which includes a 3T MRI, a four-season rooftop healing garden, meditation room, family resource center, multidisciplinary practice locations and private space for genetic, financial and nutrition counseling services. The facility includes two additional floors to accommodate future expansion.

“The needs of our patients, both adult and child, and their families were a driving force behind the development and design of the Upstate Cancer Center,” said John McCabe, MD, chief executive officer of Upstate University Hospital. “We have put most of our outpatient cancer services in a setting that promotes healing and gave our health care team some of the most advanced cancer-fighting technology available with one goal in mind: to save lives.”

The cancer center will house many of Upstate’s outpatient cancer services, including the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders.

A highlight of the Upstate Cancer Center is new technology that is now available to treat cancer. The Vero SBRT (Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy System) is for advanced treatment of lung, liver and prostate cancer. Upstate is one of only three institutions in the United States to offer this unique combination of advanced treatment and imaging technologies. It facilitates the delivery of extremely high doses of radiation to complex tumors located in critical areas while protecting neighboring organs, improving both safety and accuracy. TrueBeam, an advanced radiotherapy option lessens treatment time, improving patient convenience.

Add these new technologies to Upstate’s existing arsenal of cancer-fighting technology—Tomotherapy, Calypso, Gamma Knife Perfextion and RapidArc—and the Cancer Center provides an unmatched breadth of radiotherapy options in the region.

Then there are the aesthetic elements in the Upstate Cancer Center that officials say present an optimum healing environment for treating cancer.

The cancer center infuses nature into every aspect of its architectural design, from its modern exterior that maximizes the use of natural light, to the use of sustainable and eco-friendly materials meant to conserve energy, to its landscape that includes a four-season healing garden. An interesting feature of the facility is a green roof that prevents 211,000 gallons of storm water from entering into the sewer system, but rather circumvents it to a reservoir that waters its healing garden. Designed by Ewing Cole Architects of Philadelphia, the Upstate Cancer Center is pursuing LEED certification at the silver level from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The four-season healing garden sprouts from the roof of the Upstate Cancer Center’s second floor. The garden is visible from numerous areas on the south side of the cancer thanks to nearly floor to ceiling windows. Several benches in the garden make sitting among the plantings possible. The garden features spring bulbs, summer flowering perennials, fall blooming grasses and evergreens.

Highlighting the theme of nature as being a refuge during cancer treatment is art—photographs, paintings and other works—by 31 artists from Upstate New York that is on display throughout the cancer center, depicting scenes from nature, wildlife and seascapes, and landscapes. The stainless steel “Tree of Hope” sculpture sits near the front entrance of the cancer center. Measuring 7 feet tall, the sculpture was created by Ellen Steinfield of Buffalo, N.Y.

“One step inside the Upstate Cancer Center and the public will understand that a new era in cancer care has come to the region,” said Leslie Kohman, MD, medical director of the Upstate Cancer Center.

The cost of the Cancer Center construction is being financed by the issuance of bonds that will be repaid with revenues generated by the Cancer Center.

Some construction costs, equipment and patient amenities as well as endowments for the Upstate Cancer Center were aided by a campaign, called “Give Hope a New Home,” coordinated by the Foundation for Upstate, which raised more $17.4 million from more than 18,400 gifts and pledges.

“Once again, the Central New York community has responded with extreme generosity,” said Eileen Pezzi, MPA, vice president for development at Upstate Medical University and executive director of the Foundation for Upstate. “All who supported this special campaign have truly helped give hope a new home for all of us throughout the region.”

The Upstate Cancer Center will work closely with Upstate’s Cancer Research Institute. Cancer research requires a strong partnership between scientists and medical doctors, who can facilitate new cancer cures and diagnostics from the bench to the bedside. Scientists and physicians work closely on offering Upstate’s cancer patients access to some 150 new treatment protocols through clinical trials.

Upstate provides treatment for all forms of cancer, including blood, bone, brain, breast, colon, endocrine, genitourinary, gynecologic, liver, bladder, pancreas, lung, chest, prostate, thyroid, and cancers and blood disorders associated mostly with children, including leukemia, brain and bone tumors and sickle cell.

More than 18,600 individuals received outpatient cancer treatment at Upstate in 2013.

Key Cancer Center facts:

Contractors for the project include LaChase Construction, Hueber-Breuer, Buffalo Structural, ThyssenKrupp Elevator, AC Dellovade, Elmer W. Davis Roofing, The Pike Company, North Central Mechanical, Matco Electric and Diamond Roofing. Also project consulting assistance provided by Security Integrations, Visual Technologies, ID Sign Systems, Atlantic Testing, Genesys Engineering, Hill-Rom and Swisslog.

—More than 500 construction workers were employed the during the project

—90,000 square feet total space on three stories

—More than 5,500 cubic yards of concrete

—More than 8,500 square feet of custom glass in the atrium

—146 caissons secure the foundation, the deepest of which is 57.35 feet below the first floor

—160 miles of wiring and cabling

—More than 75 miles of metal studs

—700,000 square feet of drywall

—75,000 pounds of drywall joint compound

—More than 5 million fasteners like screws and nails

—48 steps from the atrium to the top of the Stairway of Hope

—More than 80 species of plants in the healing garden

—More than 200 construction workers were on site at one time

—More than 500 construction workers on site total

—More than 600,000 construction hours worked

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