Hospital to construct cancer center

The Yale-New Haven Hospital officially announced plans for its new $430 million cancer center yesterday.

Aldermen, state representatives, first selectmen, and administrative members of Yale and the Yale-New Haven Hospital gathered at the hospital to voice their support for the proposed 14-story, 497,000-square foot building. Yale-New Haven Hospital president Joseph Zaccagnino said the center will be a significant development for the hospital.

“This Cancer Center is one of the most important additions to Yale-New Haven’s patient care capabilities in its 178-year history,” Zaccagnino said.

The 112-bed, comprehensive cancer-treatment facility will include radiology and radiation treatment, integrated inpatient and outpatient care, a women’s cancer center, and a rooftop healing garden. The center will consolidate clinical care, which is currently offered at six different sites, into one building. The increase in rooms will also help the hospital meet the growing number of patients, which Zaccagino said has increased by more than 20 percent over the last five years.

“Once complete, it will be the most modern and comprehensive facility of its kind in the northeast,” Zaccagnino said.

Barabara Oliver, a member of the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, said a comprehensive center will give patients the best possible care.

“Patients usually have to travel from one facility to another, from one doctor to another,” Oliver, a breast cancer survivor, said. “Now it’s all in one building, all he or she needs is available immediately.”

The center will be funded by equity, bond financing, and major fund-raising campaigns. It will be located on 25 Park St., replacing an existing hospital office building. Demolition of the building will begin in the spring of 2005 and ground breaking for the new center is expected to begin in September 2005. Zaccagnino said he hopes the facility will be complete by the fall of 2008.

In addition to offering clinical care, Yale President Richard Levin said the center will help medical researchers at Yale.

“This exciting facility has the potential to change the face of cancer research and to translate the essence of innovation to clinical care,” Levin said.

Marvin Lender, chairman of the Yale New-Haven Hospital Board of Trustees, said the project will also work as an “economic engine” for the city and the state.

“Yale-New Haven hospital has been part of the fabric of this community for 180 years,” Lender said. “We all have a great opportunity here today to help people and to save lives.”

He said construction is expected to create 350 jobs, and when complete the center will provide 400 permanent positions. In addition to creating new jobs, he said the city will receive an additional $3 million to $4 million in annual Payment in Lieu of Taxes.

Levin said he expects the center will also encourage the development of new biotech companies as well.

“We have launched about 30 companies in the past decade based on research from the university,” Levin said. “With the new cancer center, there is a strong likelihood that that pace will accelerate.”

Community Organized for Responsible Development member Rev. Scott Marks, said the center will provide the hospital with a chance to better communicate with local residents.

“We’re excited for the cancer center, it’s a great opportunity for the hospital to really lock in with the community that they’re in and work on being a better neighbor,” Marks said.

Marks added that while he would like to see the center provide new jobs, he said residents need to ask questions about those jobs.

“The key thing is what kind of jobs will those be and what kind of benefits will they have,” Marks said. “We need to have a vision for a better quality of life for the people who live in New Haven and actually obtain those jobs.”

Though Marks said he remains unsure of what the center will mean for the community, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said he is optimistic about the benefits the facility will bring.

“I look forward to the continued accomplishments of the hospital here in so many ways,” DeStefano said. “I look forward to not only a seminal project, but a defining moment in our community.”

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Yale President Richard Levin celebrate the announcement of the Yale-New Haven Hospital’s $430 million cancer center project, which officials hope will be completed by fall of 2008.
Lauren Fine
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Yale President Richard Levin celebrate the announcement of the Yale-New Haven Hospital’s $430 million cancer center project, which officials hope will be completed by fall of 2008.

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