Hospitals holding close to building schedule

Sunday, July 25, 2010
The Heart Hospital and Cancer Institute at Saint Francis Medical Center is scheduled to open in summer 2011. (Fred Lynch)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been changed to correct the detour route of Franciscan Way and the number of people who have worked on the project.

The construction of cancer centers for Cape Girardeau's two hospitals are either on schedule or close to it.

An $84 million expansion at Saint Francis Medical Center to house a new Cancer Institute and Heart Hospital will open on schedule in the summer of 2011.

Southeast Missouri Hospital's $33 million Regional Cancer Center, which will anchor the hospital's new West Campus off Mount Auburn Road, will open in early 2011. The center had originally been estimated to open in December.

At the four-story 208,000 square-foot Saint Francis project, all of the structure's steel supports have been erected, except for two entrance canopies, and most of the brick has been laid for the exterior. Windows and drywall are being installed now.

Southeast Missouri Hospital's Regional Cancer Center is scheduled to open early next year. It is adjacent to the Southeast Regional Medical Complex on south Mount Auburn Road. (Fred Lynch)

Included in the project are 50 private inpatient rooms, 10 cardiac intensive care beds, three cardiac labs and an electrophysiology lab for heart patients. The Cancer Institute portion of the facility will include 30 private or open chemotherapy treatment bays, two private treatment rooms and a PET/CT scanner.

As construction continues, Franciscan Way will close in mid-August so that the road can be lowered to meet the ramp for the new building's north entrance. The only access from Mount Auburn Road to South Silver Springs Road will be through the parking parking lot on the north side of Franciscan Way, according to Emily Sikes, account services coordinator.

During the construction process, about 360 people have been working to build the new facility. An estimated 70 new jobs will be created by the expansion at Saint Francis in nursing and other support roles in addition to new physicians.

"We have worked very hard to recruit and retain physicians in the area," said Steven C. Bjelich, president and CEO. "Since 2000 more than 125 physicians have been recruited to the community, with 113 being retained."

Several physicians with practice locations off the Saint Francis campus will be moving to the new facility, he said.

Two-thirds done

Southeast Missouri Hospital's 49,200 square-foot Regional Cancer Center building is about two-thirds complete, according to Judy Aslin, executive director of the center. Crews are hanging drywall and installing insulation now. There are about 125 construction workers involved in building Southeast's new facility.

"The recent installation of the large glass windows really showcases the beauty of the architecture," Aslin said. "When people see the building, they will realize that this is a special place."

The new Southeast Cancer Center will open in early 2011 offering physician offices specializing in radiation oncology and hematology oncology as well as cancer treatment facilities. The new facility will not have any new patient rooms but will provide outpatient radiation therapy, chemotherapy and other treatments. Laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services will be available on site.

"This is in order to increase efficiencies and decrease wait times for patients," Aslin said. Support services for cancer patients will be housed at the new center.

The Regional Cancer Center will connect through a glass walkway to the existing medical office building at Southeast's West Campus. A deli and retail pharmacy are under construction in the office building as well.

While some new staff will be added once the facility is open, many departments at Southeast's Broadway campus will relocate to the new West Campus.

"Much work is going on now to prepare staff for the move," Aslin said. "There is genuine excitement among the staff about the possibilities that will unfold in the new building."

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

817 S. Mount Auburn Road, Cape Girardeau, MO

211 Saint Francis Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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