$39.9M expansion planned for Hollings Cancer Center; MUSC wants to consolidate research, add space for outpatient cancer services

Charleston Post and Courier
June 1, 2001

The Medical University Hospital Authority has applied with state regulators for a certificate of need authorizing the clinical portion of a $39.9 million project that will more than double the size of the Hollings Cancer Center.

The project will be a seven-story, 112,500-square-foot expansion on the corner of Jonathan Lucas and Sabin streets.

Expanding the facility would allow the university to consolidate cancer research into one location while consolidating and expanding outpatient clinical oncology services there, too.

The bulk of the money is coming from public sources. Dr. Carolyn Reed, who chairs the department, said about 60 percent of the funds are federal, 25 percent are state and 15 percent are from the hospital authority.

“It is a big project, and it is going in a very tight space,” Reed said.
Space is extremely limited on the Medical University of South Carolina campus, thus the seven-story building. The project has been criticized for its potential impact on the Charleston skyline.

Two major hurdles remain. In July, the university hopes to present the building’s exterior design to the Board of Architectural Review, Reed said.

Also, before any of the clinical portion of the building can be constructed, the Department of Health and Environmental Control must grant a certificate of need.

Still, some work has already begun, said Hal Currey, associate dean of operations at the College of Medicine. Workers will remove asbestos from two buildings that will be demolished to make way for the expanded center. The university hopes to begin tearing down those buildings in October or November.

Plans are to build the expansion in phases over three years, but the project will not interrupt clinical services, officials said.

The bulk of the project’s cost, $28.8 million, will come in the clinical areas. The project will bring outpatient radiation therapy from the medical center to the Hollings center and will increase space for other clinical services, including outpatient chemotherapy.

When finished, the center will have 83,000 square feet for research, Reed said. The new building will have three new research floors, and the fourth floor of the existing building used for animal research will be expanded.

She said the cancer program has outgrown the facility that opened in 1993.

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