UAMS Unveils $130 Million Cancer Institute Expansion

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jul. 12, 2010 12:00 am  

Dr. Peter Emanuel, the executive director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences? Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, said he hopes the center becomes a world leader in the treatment of six to eight cancers.

Hrand DuValian, the architect for Cromwell, said he tried to design a building that reduces the patient's stress and fear.

When the building opens to the public on Aug. 2, patients can be dropped off in a circular driveway and then enter a large reception area that features wood-paneled walls and chandeliers, giving it the feel of a four-star hotel.

Off to the side of the open-air registration area, a grand piano will sit, and music will echo up the side of the slate-exterior elevator. The elevator doubles as the focal point of the structure and can be seen from the waiting area and atrium of each floor.

"So anytime you're unescorted you can find your way in and out of the building," DuValian said.

The building's exterior is glass, attracting as much natural light into the building as possible. The coating of the glass reflects heat and gives the exterior the appearance of a mirror.

The building also features stairways between the windows and elevators to entice employees, DuValian said.

"That helps promote a healthy lifestyle and also helps to reduce the energy that it takes to run a building," he said.

The building also was designed to promote conversations between cancer doctors and researchers by having a floor of research next to a floor for patients.

For researchers, the laboratories have open research space to encourage scientists to interact, Emanuel said.

"In the Walker Tower, you have individual labs, and this is the new age," he said, pointing to several research tables in an open lab. "All new research labs and all U.S. medical campuses are going to be designed this way now."

When the building opens, three full floors and parts of two other floors will be in use.

By next summer, two more research floors will operational. Six floors will remain shell space until money becomes available to finish them out. Emanuel said he didn't know when the building would be completely finished.

"We don't have a set time frame," he said. "It's just when funds become available. ... Right now it's hard to raise funds in this economy."




Please read our comments policy before commenting.