SARASOTA, Fla. (April 16, 2019) – Sarasota Memorial celebrated another milestone today: the groundbreaking for a new oncology tower that will be the heart of SMH’s evolving Cancer Institute.
City officials, the elected hospital board, hospital staff, representatives from the design/build team and members of neighborhood and patient advisory committees participated in the ceremonial ritual on the partially cleared site where the eight-story tower will be built on SMH’s main campus.
“Today, we are celebrating more than a groundbreaking. We are breaking new ground in the fight against cancer in our community,” said SMH Chief Operating Officer Lorrie Liang.
Whether it’s genetic testing to help people learn about their risk factors, advanced imaging to detect cancer at its earlier stages, the precision and accuracy achieved by robotic surgery tools, access to clinical trials or a compassionate navigator to guide patients throughout their cancer journey, Sarasota Memorial’s Cancer Institute is a center of excellence bringing together the best doctors, the latest research, the most advanced treatments, and a lifetime of support and follow-up care for cancer patients.
The tower is the latest step in SMH’s vision to ensure cancer patients have access to the latest and most effective care, in state-of-the-art facilities located in their own backyard. So far, the health system has invested $220 million in the cancer tower and an outpatient radiation center under construction at SMH’s University Parkway and Honore Avenue campus. Once the tower is complete in 2021, SMH plans to build an outpatient care pavilion across the street from it.
David Verinder, CEO of Sarasota Memorial, said planning and financing for the Cancer Institute began five years ago to address a growing need on the Suncoast.
“With the growth of our community, and the increase in cancer cases, it was time to expand our oncology program, and develop a world-class cancer center in our own backyard,” Verinder said. “We recognized that we could have a truly exceptional program if we could provide premier facilities that offer coordinated, collaborative care across the full continuum, with a healing environment that supports the most advanced and individualized diagnostic testing and treatments, and most importantly, the best possible patient experience.”
With 56 upper-floor suites dedicated to cancer treatment and recovery, a full array of patient navigation, counseling and support services on the lower floors, and a rooftop café, the new tower is designed to deliver the best possible clinical outcomes in a patient-centered environment.
During the ceremony, hospital and Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation officials recognized oncology and physician leaders helping to develop the programs, donors supporting the projects, as well as members of the health system’s neighborhood and patient advisory groups, many of whom shared insights from their own personal cancer journeys during the design process.
“Our goal with these facilities is to address each aspect of life that cancer touches, with the greatest expertise, compassion and support,” Verinder said. “We appreciate the guidance and leadership of all of our physician partners involved with the institute – and the unwavering community support. We would not be here today without you.”
About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 900,000 patient visits each year. Its flagship hospital in Sarasota, Fla., has been consistently recognized as one of the nation’s best, with superior patient outcomes. The system offers a complete continuum of care – from trauma, emergency and urgent care, to laboratory, diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation and skilled nursing. SMH was recognized among the nation’s 100 top hospitals by IBM Watson Health in 2019 and remains the only hospital in Florida to have consistently earned the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ highest five-star quality rating since the evaluation system launched in 2016.