By Amanda Sangster - May 24, 2021
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor joined Moffitt Cancer Center leaders for a topping out ceremony of the new hospital currently under construction on its McKinley East campus. The ceremony signifies an important milestone: The internal framework of the structure has been completed and work can now begin on the inside of the building.
About 100 guests gathered to watch the hoisting of the final beams, which were decorated with colorful signatures and messages of hope and blessings for the new hospital.
“May everyone who enters feel loved and care for, and many lives be saved,” wrote one Moffitt team member.
“Dedicated to our patients who travel near and far in their search for a cure,” wrote another. “Blessings to all that enter this building.”
The two beams will be incorporated into the elevator shafts ultimately uplifting patients and caregivers as they travel throughout the new facility.
Moffitt already serves patients from 130 countries, all 50 states and every county in Florida. However, over the next 10 years, Moffitt anticipates a 65% increase in patient volumes and a 33% increase in cancer surgeries. To serve more patients locally and internationally, the need for additional space is more important than ever.
“By expanding this access to world class care, we’re opening new doors for Moffitt and giving more patients a chance to have greater outcomes that we know we can give them,” said Moffitt President and CEO Dr. Patrick Hwu. “We’re going to save lives here by increasing access to preventive services, treatment and research. This is a huge moment in the history of medicine and cancer care.”
The new 10-story, 498,000-square-foot facility is located on more than 20 acres across from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Outpatient Center. Starting with 128 inpatient beds, it will have the capacity to expand to 400. The new hospital will feature 19 operating rooms, 72 perioperative rooms, three MRI scanners, three CT scanners and two nuclear cameras.
The cancer center is also making history by focusing on hiring minority, women, veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned business enterprises. Moffitt is committed to a supplier diversity goal of 15% over the span of this project, or $52 million. As of May 2021, over 60% of that goal has been met and will likely exceed projections. Nearly $10 million in contracts have been awarded to veteran-owned businesses, while more than $9 million will be spent with women-owned vendors and over $5 million with African American-owned businesses.
Becoming a shining example for other developing companies in Tampa Bay, Moffitt’s construction partners Barr & Barr, Inc. and Horus Construction Services, Inc. have begun mentorship programs by guiding small, diverse businesses throughout the contracting and construction processes. On-site construction tours focused on increasing women and minority representation in the construction industry have been ongoing.
Throughout the construction, more than 5,500 people will work on the project, creating a local economic impact of $120 million in salaries. Roughly 52% of those workers call Hillsborough County home. The remaining live in nearby Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties.
Moffitt’s expansion could not be possible without the enduring support from the city of Tampa and Mayor Jane Castor.
“Moffitt is the jewel in the crown in cancer treatment and research,” said Castor. “We are so very fortunate to have Moffitt here in Tampa Bay. To see the expansion and 35 years of growth is wonderful not only for our community, but cancer research and treatment worldwide.”
Also joining the ceremony were members of Moffitt’s Patient and Family Advisory Council. The council has had an integral part in planning the new facility since the beginning stages.
“We know that warm welcoming environments help our patients heal, physically and emotionally,” said Jane Fusilero, Moffitt’s chief nursing officer. “That’s why we asked our patients to help us in the design of this building.”
The council has been influential to improving Moffitt’s patient experience throughout all stages of expansion, including the cancer center’s recently opened Wesley Chapel satellite location. Recommendations from the council have included state of the art technologies that few other hospitals offer, in addition to simple conveniences of home like the patient’s ability to control the thermostat of their own room, pull-out couches for visitors and in-room showers for their families.
The hospital site includes a nearly finished central utility plant of approximately 26,000 square feet and a completed three-story parking garage. Also included in the plans is a connecting bridge over McKinley Drive that will link the new structure with the outpatient center.
In addition to Barr & Barr and Horus Construction Services, Moffitt has partnered with Hammes Company and HDR, Inc. The new hospital is scheduled to open in July 2023.