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University of Chicago Medicine building $815 million cancer care pavilion

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 21, 2023
Rad Oncology
The University of Chicago Medicine is building a new cancer research and care pavilion.
The University of Chicago Medicine has set to work on an $815 million, seven-story pavilion slated to be the first and only stand-alone structure for cancer care and research in Illinois.

The health system broke ground on the project on September 19. With the aim to reduce healthcare disparities in underserved communities, the 575,000-square-foot facility will be located at the medical center’s flagship campus in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side, where residents are twice as likely to die from cancer than the rest of the country and rates are expected to rise 19% in the next decade alone, compared to 9% in the rest of Chicago.

It will have 80 inpatient beds, 90 outpatient exam rooms, infusion therapy rooms grouped by cancer type, and clinical trial spaces. There will also be new equipment, including two MR, CT, and ultrasound scanners, each; two procedure rooms with mobile C-arm/fluoroscopy; an X-ray system; and a breast center with screening, diagnostic imaging, and biopsy rooms.

These resources will make the facility a central point of cancer research, new therapy developments, and clinical advancements, and over 200 team members currently spread out across more than five different buildings will come together there.

Dr. Nita Karnik Lee, associate director of the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity, says the center will “increase access” to screening and clinical trials with a “particular focus on cancer prevention, wellness and support through exciting new community spaces.”

The inpatient beds will be in a room that houses patients with complex or acute care needs, such as organ transplants, digestive diseases, cardiology, orthopedics, and trauma care, alleviating capacity constraints. There will also be a rapid assessment/urgent care clinic to protect immunocompromised oncology patients from infection, and vertical and horizontal shell space for future growth.

The pavilion will offer support services for patients and families, and streamline diagnostic and therapeutic workflows to make clinical trials more accessible to underrepresented populations. Research on metabolomics, big data, AI and more will take place to improve diagnosing and personalizing treatment. Partners at UChicago’s Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering and Argonne National Laboratory will help expand and expedite the on-campus “molecule to medicine” therapy development pipeline.

The health system expects to have up to 200,000 outpatient visits and 5,000 inpatient admissions annually at the pavilion, the building of which has created more than 500 construction jobs. At least 41% of contract construction dollars will go to minority- and women-owned firms.

Its completion is slated for the spring of 2027.

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