SMH Cancer Institute

Sarasota Memorial Hospital broke ground Tuesday on its Cancer Institute tower, part of a $220 million effort to provide more-comprehensive cancer care in the community.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) has embarked on its third major construction project of the year.

The health system broke ground Tuesday on a Cancer Institute tower on the main hospital campus.

By consolidating services offered in separate locations on the campus, the Institute will become the principle site of the hospital’s continuum of care, from cancer prevention through post-treatment support, officials said.

It’s actually the second phase of the Institute. Phase one is a radiation oncology center on SMH’s University Parkway campus. The groundbreaking for the center was in January.

Scheduled to open in August of 2020, the center will offer cancer treatment on an outpatient basis. With two linear accelerators, it will provide “the most advanced radiation therapy in the community,” according to a press statement.

Sandwiched in between those two events was the April 4 groundbreaking for Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice, a 110-bed acute-care hospital at the southeast corner of Laurel and Pinebrook roads.

It will be the first new hospital in the SMH system and a key component in building up the medical community in South County, a condition to the eventual construction of a facility in North Port. It’s planned to open in the fall of 2021.

SMH-Venice will have 90 acute-care beds; a 20-bed observation unit; a 28-bed ER; a 10-bed labor and delivery/post-partum unit; eight surgical suites; a community clinic; a medical office building; and a parking garage.

The Cancer Institute tower on the main campus will be an eight-story, 170,000-square-foot building housing 56 private patient suites and nine operating rooms, including ones equipped for robotic surgery.

Adding nine ORs is the biggest expansion of operating suites in SMH history, SMH CEO David Verinder said.

The Institute will have a separate entrance and reception area from the main hospital, to which it will be connected on multiple levels, and a rooftop cafe.

It’s also projected to open in 2021.

Planning for the Institute began five years ago, Verinder told the people at Tuesday’s groundbreaking. He said he has used the commitment to building it as a recruitment tool.

The budget for the first two phases of the Institute is $220 million, with preliminary planning for a third phase — a cancer pavilion to house a full array of outpatient services and care — already underway.

The pavilion wouldn’t be built until the Institute has been completed, Chief Operating Officer Lorrie Liang said.

SMH is undertaking to transform the way cancer care is delivered in this community because Florida, with its large retiree population, is second only to California in the number of cancer cases, she said.

One in every three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

More information and updates about SMH-Venice and the Cancer Institute are available at SMH.com under the “News & Events” header.

An animated video about the Institute is at Youtu.be/nSlTNH2uVBI.

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