The Community Cancer Center in Bloomington Normal plans to more than double its size with a $10 million expansion project. Cancer Center leaders (left to right: Governing Board Chair Carl Sneed, Medical Director Dr. Sharmian Woodhouse, and Executive Director Barb Nathan) announced plans Tuesday for the project they hope to break ground on later this year. Director Barb Nathan says they have outgrown the existing facility. She says the number of patients served has increased 55% in the last 13 years to more than a thousand per year. And Nathan says they anticipate seven percent annual increases in cancer patients the next decade.
"We have an aging population so as our population ages you'll see that growth in incidents even though you may not see that growth in population. We do have some population growth in the community and then thankfully we have ongoing and growing survivor services."
Nathan also says they hope to capture some patients from outlying areas of the service territory in which physicians are not yet aware of the treatments offered by the cancer center.
Dawn Smith of Bloomington lost her husband Richard to kidney cancer late last year. She says the chapel planned for the expanded facility would have been a boon during Richard's treatment.
"That would have been something. You know, he was here for eight hours. It would have been nice to go somewhere. It was in the winter sometimes so you couldn't go outside for some peace and quiet so I think that's really wonderful."
The project also includes a food service operation for the first time, more exam rooms, and Medical Director Doctor Sharmian Woodhouse says, conference rooms to discuss treatment options.
"It's a higher level of service to be able to talk to a patient when they are fully clothed and in an environment that's not an exam room, in an environment that is more comfortable and less intimidating."
There will also be a new oncology and treatment area and expanded administrative facilities for the 80 people that work there on a weekly basis. The infusion treatment areas where patients receive chemotherapy will have more privacy with a maximum of six people per room. Nathan says they hope to add ten to fifteen people on staff in the next five years as caseloads expand. The center operated by both Advocate BroMenn Healthcare and OSF Saint Joseph Medical Center will try to raise $8 million toward the cost of the 35,000 sq. foot addition. They have already received commitments of more than $2.5 million and plan to break ground after reaching the $6 million mark.
See renderings of the addition
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