Community views new cancer center renderings

Community views new cancer center renderings
Rendering of the entrance to the new Baptist MD Anderson Hospital entrance which is planned to be built on Palm Avenue across from Nemours Children’s Specialty Care.

Provided the Jacksonville City Council and Land Use and Zoning Committee sign off on the deal, by early 2018 the two-block parcels of mostly vacant land across from Nemours Children’s Specialty Care should look very different than it does now.

In a public meeting April 4 sponsored by the San Marco Preservation Society, officials from Baptist Health shared renderings of the new Baptist MD Anderson Cancer facility they have planned for the area in North San Marco bordered by Gary Street, Children’s Way, Palm Avenue and San Marco Boulevard.

Designed by HKS Architects and Freeman White, a subsidiary of the Haskell Company, the new building will encompass 250,000 square feet of clinical, administrative and patient space as well as a 600-car garage.

In a virtual video rendering, Frank Brooks, a Freeman White senior architectural advisor on the project, took a group of more than 50 local residents on a tour of the towering glass-walled structure and beautifully landscaped campus.

Included in the plans are a large park/plaza with shady trees facing away from the hospital toward the community on the corner of Children’s Way and San Marco Boulevard, wide brick-patterned sidewalks along San Marco Boulevard, and an eight-foot multi-use path along Children’s Way and Nira Street that will provide a connection to the planned pedestrian-bicycle path the Florida Department of Transportation plans to build across the St. Johns River and the Southbank Riverwalk near The District-Life Well Lived.

The campus will be “walkable” and scenic with greenscape at its corners and palm trees lining its streetscape, Brooks said. An enclosed elevated glass bridge is planned to cross San Marco Boulevard, connecting the existing Baptist MD Anderson Hospital with the new state-of-the-art outpatient facility and allow staff members access to an additional parking deck on Nira Street without crossing San Marco Boulevard.

The towering new facility, which will be no more than 12 stories high (specifics are still at the design stage), is focused to provide inhabitants with spectacular views of Jacksonville and the St. Johns River. The entrance will look out onto Palm Avenue and will include a street-level enclosed courtyard and garden. Everything about the building is designed to take advantage of natural light and an integration with nature, said Brooks.

The final plans will be presented to the Land Use and Zoning Committee Tuesday, May 3 followed by a presentation in the hopes to gain final approval at the City Council meeting Tuesday, May 10.

By Marcia Hodgson

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