CARTERVILLE, Ill. — A final 22-foot long, 250-pound steel beam marked the topping out of Southern Illinois Healthcare Center’s (SIH) new cancer center.
The beam was placed at the project’s 15-acre site in Carterville, Ill., last week, and signifies a major milestone in the construction of the upcoming 42,000-square-foot facility. Before positioned, the beam was displayed at various SIH locations where viewers who have been impacted by cancer were encouraged to sign the landmark beam.
“We wanted this to be a symbol for strength and support that all of us at SIH work for,” said Jennifer Badiu, SIH system director of Cancer Care Services, in a statement. “But it also represents all of the community who have given friends and family members the strength and support they need through their journey.”
The beam was given a special placement in the entrance of the facility, so all cancer patients, health care provides and visitors will pass under it.
The $24 million facility, which will combine the health care center’s existing radiation therapy locations and its medical oncology clinics, features two radiation vaults, medical oncology infusion spaces, medical clinic suites, administrative offices, lab, rehab gym, meeting rooms, retail space and a self-service eating area.
The project received unanimous approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in May 2013. The new cancer center will be the region’s first freestanding cancer center and the community is anticipating the new center’s positive impact.
“From the beginning, this project has received substantial community support by way of the many letters sent to the review board on our behalf and fundraising support through our SIH Hope is Home campaign. We look forward to building the region’s first comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer center,” said Rex Budde, president and CEO of SIH, in a statement.
The new center is also centrally located, which eases the stress of traveling long distances to receive care, according to project leaders. The cancer center is situated in a wooded site, east of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge and north of Illinois Route 13.
“This will improve quality and coordination of care, not to mention convenience for patients in the region who are at risk for or are fighting cancer,” Badiu said.
The project is serving one of the most at-risk populations in the state of Illinois. The Hope to Home campaign is seeking to raise $10 million for the state-of-the-art cancer care facility.
“Of the 16 counties in our primary and secondary service areas, Franklin, Johnson and Alexander fall in the top 10 for cancer incidence rates in the state. With the exception of Jackson County, the majority of counties in deep southern Illinois have cancer rates that are higher than the state average,” Badiu said.
The project broke ground in September 2013 and is on track to be completed in December 2014. Lawrence Group, headquartered in St. Louis, is the project architect and McCarthy Building Companies, with offices in Collinsville, Ill., Inc. is the contractor.