Making cancer history, monumental groundbreaking

Jacksonville political dignitaries and highly placed members of the Baptist Health Medical community were among the celebrants joining in a groundbreaking ceremony June 23 to kick off construction of a 330,000-square-foot addition to the current Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center in San Marco.

The $150 million-plus addition will comprise nine stories and be constructed on a two-block tract of land directly across San Marco Boulevard from the current Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center. With the new edifice, Baptist MD Anderson will be able to dramatically expand the comprehensive state-of-the-art cancer care making it a destination medical center for patients with the disease throughout Jacksonville and the United States.

“This place will be known for bringing new hope to patients and families – and the jobs we create will have a positive ripple effect in the economic health of the community as well,” said Ceree Harden, board chairman of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville. “In addition to making our new cancer center a reality, the total economic impact over the next 10 years is projected to exceed $2.5 billion,” he said.

In addition to Harden, several important members of the Baptist Health community and city government spoke prior to the actual groundbreaking ceremony. Taking the rostrum were Baptist Health President and CEO Hugh Greene of San Jose, District 5 Councilwoman Lori Boyer of San Marco, Nicole Thomas of the Southbank, senior vice president of specialty services for Baptist Health, Dr. Joe B. Putnam of San Marco, medical director of the Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, John Wilbanks, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Baptist Health and Courtney Hester, a Baptist Health chaplain, who said a prayer before the actual groundbreaking began.

Thomas introduced a video tour of the facility. “This new state-of-the-art cancer center will be built to focus on the patient’s needs from the moment of arrival. “Patients will find inspiration throughout the building with nature, light and art,” Thomas said. “An open courtyard in the center of the building will provide a beautiful garden and sculpture for patients and their families to enjoy.”

Many were recognized for their support of the project and their assistance in making it become a reality including Pam Onstead of San Jose, who was credited by Greene with helping make the idea become reality, and the San Marco Preservation Society, which helped insure the design of the new center would fit in to the historic San Marco community.

Making cancer history, monumental groundbreaking

Assisting in the Baptist MD Anderson groundbreaking ceremony were John Wilbanks, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Baptist Health; Terry West, member of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville board of directors; Timothy G. Groover, MD, vice president and chief medical officer of Baptist Physician Partners and member of Baptist Health board of directors; Richard L. Sisisky, member of  the Baptist Health board of directors and Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville board; Carol C. Thompson, member of Baptist Health board of directors;  Lori Boyer, president-designate for Jacksonville City Council; Thomas Buchholz, MD, executive vice president and physician-in-chief for MD Anderson Cancer Center; Pam Onstead, member of Wolfson Children’s Hospital board of directors; Hugh Greene, president and CEO of Baptist Health; Nicole Thomas, senior vice president of Specialty Services for Baptist Health; Joe B. Putnam, Jr., MD, medical director for Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center; Margaret B. Row, vice president of operations for MD Anderson Cancer Network; Ceree Harden, chair of the Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville board of directors and member of the Baptist Health board of directors; LeeAnn Mengel, administrator of oncology services for Baptist Health and Michael A. Mayo, hospital president of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville.


By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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