Shands breaks ground on new cancer hospital


Rudy Santacroce, department head for the Management Engineering Consulting Services, admires the site plan for the new cancer hospital at Shands at the University of Florida during the hospitals groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, January 11, 2007. Santacroce's department played a role in the planning for the cancer hospital.

(Aaron Daye/The Gainesville Sun)
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 4:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 4:22 p.m.

A dozen dignitaries grabbed shovels and donned hard hats to break ground for the new Shands Cancer Hospital at the University of Florida this afternoon.

The hospital will be located across Archer Road from Shands at UF and the Health Science Center, on a site formerly occupied by the University Centre Hotel.

The 500,000-square-foot facility is expected to cost $388 million and will create at least 1,000 new jobs, according to a Shands spokeswoman. Construction is expected to be finished in 2009.

The hospital will house 192 private inpatient beds for a variety of patients, including those receiving diagnostic and therapeutic oncology services. It will also include a Critical Care Center for emergency and trauma-related services.

Shands CEO Timothy Goldfarb described the planned hospital as a significant milestone to becoming No. 1 in cancer care at the University of Florida, just as it is in football and basketball.

"When we get things right and work together, we are not just a place of science, but of healing and hope," Goldfarb said.

UF President Bernie Machen said the highlight of the week, for him, was not Saturday's Gator victory in the BCS title game, but the gathering marking the start of construction on the cancer hospital.

"It's right now, in terms of what we are going to do for the people of this state and region," Machen said.

For more on this story, read Friday's edition of The Gainesville Sun.

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