Comprehensive Cancer Center Breaks Ground in Northern California

By HCO Staff

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif.—A groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of construction for Enloe Health’s new Gonzales Comprehensive Cancer Center. The new state-of-the-art facility will serve Northern California communities, offering advanced treatments and equipment with compassionate, patient-focused care.

Located in Butte County, where cancer is the leading cause of death, the Gonzales Comprehensive Cancer Center will offer life-saving cancer care as well as education and screening, in an accessible location. With a partnership that began in 2022, Enloe Health engaged HGA’s interdisciplinary team to design a facility that could support a wide range of treatments, enhance the patient experience, support staff wellbeing, and provide a connection to the community.

“We chose to partner with HGA because of their strong healthcare and cancer facility expertise. HGA’s thorough research and benchmarking of other cancer facilities resulted in a design for the Gonzales Comprehensive Cancer Center that will offer our communities the advanced care they need and want, without having to drive far from home,” said Mike Wiltermood, President & CEO of Enloe Health.

HGA’s design includes various holistic and biophilic elements including a healing garden, a family lounge with an outdoor patio, and a quiet room. When accessing the facility from the west side patients will be immersed in nature, with pathways covered in trees and other plantings leading from the parking lot to a healing garden at the west entrance. An elegant water feature will create a sense of peace and a ceremonial bell, that will be rung by patients who have completed treatment, is intended to inspire a sense of hope and ease patient anxiety before stepping into the facility.

Once inside, patients will be welcomed by an abundance of natural light and soothing warm colors flowing throughout. Clear wayfinding will direct patients throughout the three-story facility and waiting areas are strategically located in view of administrative staff for patient support and guidance. Arranged for patient ease and accessibility, the first floor will include the radiation and oncology departments, a patient and family resource center, and an alternative therapy suite including acupuncture, massage, and other support services. The second floor will consist of clinics, with universal exam rooms and the ability to flex and expand as patient needs shift. The third floor will house infusion services.

On the third floor, windows will wrap around three sides and an expansive outdoor deck will offer patients receiving infusions views of nature, including mountains to the east. Patients will have a variety of options for where they receive their treatment including community infusion spaces, private rooms, and infusion bays. A comfortable seating area featuring a fireplace will create a warm, homelike atmosphere. Vertical sunshades on the outside of the building are designed to prevent direct sun and excessive heat, while allowing for ample glazing and views to the exterior.

Equally important to patient comfort and care is staff wellness. Included on all floors, staff lounges will provide respite, away from patient care areas. Staff lounges will open to outdoor spaces and are designed with a living room feel, with soft lounge seating and a coffee bar. Each floor will include separate patient and staff hallways for circulating throughout the facility, providing staff respite and allowing for shift preparation outside of patient view

“Working with Enloe Health was a rewarding experience because of their goal of focusing on the patient experience,” said Jennifer Ries, medical planner with HGA. “We implemented our holistic design approach, focusing on how the patients and staff would use the space, which naturally aligned with Enloe’s vision for the new cancer center.”

Expected to be complete in Summer of 2026, the Gonzales Comprehensive Cancer Center will fill an increasing, critical need for cancer care and resources in Northern California. Read Enloe Health’s press release here.

In addition to Ries, project team members include James Willsie, principal –in-charge; Karenda MacDonald, project manager; Kevin Day, lead designer; Tracy Randall, interior design lead; and Shaun Coffey, designer.

Project collaborators include:

General Contractor: Swinerton
Structural Engineering: Buehler
Electrical /Low Voltage: ECOM
Mechanical/Plumbing Engineering: Weston and Associates
Security: Marquis
Medical Equipment Planning: Criterion
Civil Engineering: Northstar
Landscape Architecture: Fuhrman Leamy Land Group
Physicist Consultant: Therapy Physics, Inc.
Art Consulting: Grigio Consulting
Program Management: Covalus