July 10, 2008
SIU Med School Holds SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute Celebration
Medical school and University officials led the ribbon-cutting celebration on Thursday in Springfield for the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute (SCCI) at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. The ceremony was held outdoors at the Institute’s front door at 315 W. Carpenter St., a few blocks from downtown Springfield. It followed completion of the SIU Board of Trustees meeting, which is held each July at the medical school.
“I am bursting with pride over this accomplishment. The completion of the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute means our School of Medicine can do even more for Illinois citizens, providing sophisticated diagnostic capabilities, cutting-edge treatment, and the capacity for world-class cancer research,” said SIU President Glenn Poshard.
SIU’s new state-of-the-art $21.5 million cancer institute is nearly completed and will be open for patient care later this summer. It will serve as a center of cancer care and research for downstate Illinois as well as a new front door for the medical school campus in Springfield.
“I believe this building and the caring work that will go on inside represent another best effort to fulfill this medical school’s mission to improve the health of the region,” said Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, dean and provost of SIU School of Medicine. “But the Institute also is a monument to progress in health care, especially for the people of downstate Illinois.”
The SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU is 63,000 square feet. With three floors and a lower level, it consolidates most of the School's multi-disciplinary cancer clinics, now located in several hospital buildings, along with research and outreach services. Seven of SIU’s nine cancer care teams will be based in the building – breast, colorectal, gynecologic oncology, head and neck, hematology/oncology, prostate and lung. About 55 SIU physician faculty and support staff will be based in the clinical areas of the building.
“Combining our multidisciplinary cancer care teams with our research collaborations, we will develop best practice models and discover new ones that lessen the burden of cancer for many,” said Dr. K. Thomas Robbins, SCCI director. “The new facilities will serve to strengthen, streamline and consolidate various activities now conducted at several sites.”
The circular design of the building signals strength and hope, using a combination of traditional brick and great expanses of green glass. A central ‘spine’ of glass running through the building provides natural light. The reception and lobby area feature an open floor plan using natural limestone and wood. Terrazzo flooring complements the use of wood throughout the building. The color palette includes warm neutrals of cream and brown with blue and green accents to provide a warm and relaxing atmosphere for patients and families.
On Level 1, patients will be greeted at the reception desk in the main lobby. Nearby are a chemotherapy/infusion area with 20 stations and two clinic areas with 23 exam rooms and four minor procedure rooms. The floor also has a large conference room, a Patient and Family Learning Resource Center and a small café. Patient Navigation Services will be provided in cooperation with the American Cancer Society – Illinois Division.
The Women’s Health Care Cancer Center is located on Level 2 and includes X-ray, ultrasound, mammography, nine exam rooms and a minor procedure room. Also located here are SIU’s offices for cancer research and clinical trials teams as well as an office for the Breast Cancer Network of Strength support group. Administrative and physician offices are on this level.
The third level will eventually contain translational and bench research labs where scientists and physicians can work together. These laboratories will augment the eight new cancer research laboratories already developed in existing medical school buildings. SIU’s faculty already has increased its total research grants for cancer to more than $13 million.
The philanthropic gift from SimmonsCooper LLC and the Simmons Family Foundation is a pledge of $10.2 million which was announced in November 2005 by John and Jayne Simmons and Jeff Cooper. The SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU has been named in appreciation for the contribution.
The Capital Development Board (CDB) managed construction of the building. It was designed by Hanson Professional Services of Springfield with consultation from BSA Life Structures of Chicago. Groundbreaking was held in July 2005. The Illinois Board of Higher Education approved the proposal for the institute in April 2000 and the State of Illinois appropriated money in 2001, 2002 and 2005.
The mission of the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer care needs through medical education, biomedical research and patient service. Its Web site is www.siumed.edu/cancer and its main phone number is 217-545-6818.
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