Friday, November 24, 2017
Health

Moffitt Cancer Center to start construction on $74.2 million outpatient facility

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TAMPA — The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute will kick off construction of a $74.2 million outpatient facility Friday, culminating more than five years of planning.

The eight-story building will be located about a mile from Moffitt's main facility, on the cancer center's 30-acre property on N McKinley Drive. It is the first addition since Moffitt's for-profit subsidiary, M2Gen, opened its facility there in 2009.

The new outpatient center will include clinics, an ambulatory surgery center, imaging facilities, research labs and space for blood draws.

The facility is scheduled to open in February 2015.

Jack Kolosky, Moffitt's chief operating officer, said the main campus had about 330,000 outpatient visits last year.

Officials expect that figure to grow as much as 10 percent a year while inpatient admissions increase at a much slower rate, a reflection of national trends. Hemmed in at its main location at the University of South Florida, Moffitt must look elsewhere for an expansion.

"Most of health care, and certainly cancer, is being treated on an outpatient basis," Kolosky said.

Moffitt is Florida's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Kolosky said its reputation may explain why most of Moffitt's growth comes from patients who live in Florida but not in the Tampa Bay region.

Construction comes less than two years after the opening of a $22 million satellite facility at International Plaza, which was conceived as a more accessible location for patients who live closer to the airport or fly in from out of town to receive cancer treatments.

Kolosky said the new outpatient center at McKinley won't affect the International Plaza satellite, which he said is attracting patients from Pinellas and Pasco, for instance.

"This is just on a larger scale," he said.

Moffitt, a nonprofit, is financing the project with a portion of the proceeds from a $126 million bond, which is bankrolled by state cigarette taxes.

Last year, the state Legislature agreed to increase the amount of cigarette taxes that Moffitt gets by $5 million a year, starting in July and running through 2033. The effort had failed in previous years, but Moffitt and Tampa business leaders enlisted the help of the Tampa Bay legislative delegation, arguing that the construction would be good for economic development.

Officials with Moffitt did not provide details about the number of new jobs and those that would be transferred from the main campus. In a statement, they cited the potential for hundreds of new permanent positions as well as more than 600 construction jobs.

The campus on McKinley was secured about six years ago with financial contributions from Hills­borough County and the city of Tampa, which were offering the incentives as Moffitt launched its for-profit biomedical subsidiary M2Gen.

Moffitt will move screening and prevention services currently offered at a location on Fowler Avenue into the new outpatient center. The four new ambulatory surgery suites will serve patients with cancers including breast, melanoma, head and neck, and sarcoma.

Clinical space will include breast and skin cancer programs, as well as associated imaging equipment.

Accompanying the medical services areas will be offices, administration facilities and dining areas.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. A number of public officials are scheduled to speak, including state Surgeon General John Armstrong, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and state House Speaker Will Weatherford.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374.

This story has been updated to reflect the following correction: Moffitt Cancer Center's new outpatient facility is slated to open in February 2015. Due to incorrect information from Moffitt, another date appeared in Thursday's Times.

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