Cancer Center Expansion in Wilkes-Barre Embraces Biophilic Elements

By HCO Staff

WILKES-BARRE, Pa.—The recently completed expansion of the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Cancer Center (HCC) was led by the architecture design and planning firm FCA.

The Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., tapped FCA to create an expansion that would accommodate anticipated growth and increased demand for services. To this end, FCA completely redesigned the entry experience with a new Main Hospital drop-off circle entry, lobby, and various first-level amenities.

Biophilic principles were also incorporated throughout the interiors, with patterns, textures, and colors found in nature on display throughout.

The existing structure now has a refreshed lobby, in addition to blood draw services, 44 infusion spaces, and 6 apheresis treatment spaces. The radiation oncology suite has also been bolstered with 15 exam rooms, two new linear accelerators, and a new CyberKnife S7. The outcome is a state-of-the-art, four-story facility spanning over 92,000 square feet, equipped with the latest technology and expanded treatment options.

Located at the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA, The Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Cancer Center (HCC) provides accessible, expert cancer care for the nearly one million residents of Northeast Pennsylvania. Due to an above-average rate of positive diagnoses and anticipated future volume, Geisinger identified a need to increase access to a broader range of Oncology services. Originally designed and conceptualized by FCA, Geisinger once again engaged the leading architecture, design and planning firm to implement an addition that would accommodate future growth of both volume and services.

The new four-story expansion features an undulating facade that welcomes arriving patients to the new entrance. Serving not only the HCC, the new building is intended to complement the existing hospital, using state-of-the-art design to reinvent the entry to the campus. A two-story lobby anchors the building with a transparent entry, providing easy navigational cues that guide patients and visitors into the space. On the upper levels, fritted glass playfully lends to a rhythm on the exterior that follows the structure’s form. The striations of the fritting mimics the natural setting of the environment that surrounds the campus and helps to bring together the various functions within each floor of the building. The interior design concept focused on incorporating biophilic principles into the spaces, including views of nature, natural materials, imagery and patterns. The lobby’s interior features abstract designs of local mountain views that are captured by the layering of wood-like materials and lighting that hugs the lobby’s walls, creating a beautiful backdrop for the space. The interior design continues to reference patterns, textures and colors found in nature from hexagonal patterns in privacy glass and ceramic mosaic tiles at elevators to watercolor impressions of natural settings in family lounges––the clever use of materials result in a calming and comforting atmosphere throughout the property.

The updated cancer center now boasts a drop-off circle at entry, retail pharmacy, the Goodness Bar Café, Hydra Health, and Women’s Imaging suite on the first level which, due to the steep site conditions, aligns with the existing second level.

The third level includes an updated infusion services lobby, blood draw services, pharmacy, 44 infusion spaces, and six apheresis treatment rooms nearly doubling the size of the existing infusion center. The center’s proximity to the radiation oncology suite allows for a more centralized check-in process, improving ease of access for patients. Floor three also houses a 45-room multi-specialty exam and procedure suite, in addition to a palliative care, gynecologic oncology, and radiation oncology suite outfitted with two new linear accelerators and a new CyberKnife S7. This level’s connectivity to the hospital provides rapid access to caregivers responding to medical emergencies.

Level four features an expanded Medical and Surgical Oncology clinic that is contiguous to the existing HCC clinic, allowing for improved facilities for tumor boards, multidisciplinary clinics, and clinical research.  This floor will also include a staff respite space with an area for quiet contemplation, meditation or yoga practice. This provides employees with dedicated space to decompress without being too far away from their patients.

Finally, Level 5 features 18 new private inpatient acuity beds for both critical care and oncology, four of which will be AII/PE combination ante rooms, specifically designed to support patients undergoing Bone Marrow Transplants (BMT). Similar in concept to the third floor, the design connects the new addition to the existing hospital tower, allowing for rapid response teams and other functions to readily access the oncology unit. The placement of this unit on the top floor was deemed vital by FCA’s team to avoid unnecessary foot traffic, given the severe immunosuppression that typically accompanies BMT care.

The newly expanded Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Cancer Center offers exceptional care, a multitude of cutting-edge treatment options, and the latest technology in a 92,000-square-foot, four-story, state-of-the-art facility. Expanding access to advanced forms of care for the local community and surrounding area, the updated space is indicative of the medical center’s continued commitment to wellbeing.