Cancer center set to open in August

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2011

Construction is on schedule at the new cancer center. Andrew Garner/Star-News

The new Comprehensive Cancer Center of Andalusia could open as early as August, said Andalusia Regional Hospital C.E.O. Mark Dooley.

Dooley, who spoke to members of the Andalusia Lions Club earlier this week, said construction has “gone well” on the new center, which is being constructed through a partnership with 21st Century Oncology. That company operates a similar facility in Opp.

“From what I understand, Aug. 1 is the target occupancy date,” Dooley said. “I’ve been inside, and I can tell you, it’s a first-class facility.”

Dooley said the center was the ultimate goal of a three-year process that will allow residents to receive cancer treatment in Andalusia. The new center itself will house a linear accelerator to provide radiation therapy and the Sacred Heart Medical Oncology Group from Pensacola will come to Andalusia to provide chemotherapy and other infusion services, he said.

“The construction that you see going on right now is the medical oncology space, which is the part that is going to be leased to Sacred Heart,” Dooley said. “They’re waiting on a few pieces of equipment, so things should be up and running soon.”

Upon completion, the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Andalusia will occupy more than 10,000 square feet with the potential to expand by more than 2,000 square feet with the addition of a second linear accelerator as the patient base grows, he said.

Dooley estimated that the project will represent a $5 million investment in the community.

The hospital also is negotiating with vendors to provide PET scanning here, he said. PET scanning is an imaging technology that is used to detect cancer, determine whether cancer has spread, and assess the effectiveness of cancer treatment.

He said he hopes to be able to announce more about that service in the near future.