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UK holds groundbreaking ceremony for new Cancer and Advanced Ambulatory Building

Christian Kantosky
Board of trustees members pose to break ground at the site of the new Cancer and Advanced Ambulatory Complex located on State St. on Thursday, April 24, 2024, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Christian Kantosky | Staff

University of Kentucky officials and the Markey Cancer Center community gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Cancer and Advanced Ambulatory Center.

The ceremony was hosted on the site of the new construction project on the corner of South Limestone and University Avenue on Thursday, April 25.

The eight-story, 550,000-square-foot building will house the UK Markey Cancer Center, a comprehensive spine center, ambulatory surgery space and additional patient services, according to a release from UK PR. 

The ceremony was opened by UK President Eli Capilouto who said the new facility represents UK’s “commitment to the patient experience.” 

“It reflects our calling to not only provide Kentuckians with the best complex care, but to ensure we’re making that care more accessible or accessible to all Kentuckians,” Capilouto said. 

He said the new facility offers “grand hope,” which aids in creating an increased patient capacity, improved treatment experiences and increasing access to “cutting edge research and treatment.” 

Other notable speakers included UK Board of Trustees Chair Britt Brockman, UK Chief Operations Officer Colleen Swartz, UK Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. B. Mark Evers, and cancer survivor and Markey Cancer Center Patient Advisory Group member Erica Radhakrishnan. 

Multiple speakers highlighted increased access to and collaboration between services as one of the forefront goals of the new facility. 

Brockman said all of the out-patient cancer services will be placed at the new building in one location.

The building will house Markey outpatient clinics including chemotherapy infusion, radiation medicine, multidisciplinary oncology, gynecologic oncology, breast care center and hematology/bone marrow transplant,” the release said.

Radhakrishnan was involved in this planning process as a member of the Markey Cancer Center Patient Advisory Group (PAG). 

She said PAG is a committee that works to improve the patient experience at Markey. 

“Through our work we strive to accommodate our past selves by providing feedback to enhance tomorrow’s patient experience,” Radhakrishnan said. “It is important to note that this is only possible because of Markey’s leadership and their curiosity about the first-person experience.”

Radhakrishnan thanked Markey’s leadership for giving PAG the groundbreaking opportunity to offer their input and feedback about the facility’s design. 

She listed the unique features to be offered to patients, which ease treatments and improve accessibility: on-site pharmacy, a resource center for access to “clinically-approved” information, a cafe and a reverent space, which respects patients of all religions.

Radhakrishnan said the facility will also have a retail boutique adhering to the specific needs of cancer patients. 

The boutique offers medical equipment, prosthetics, wigs, scarves, skin protecting lotions, lymphedema and mastectomy products, and out of season items like gloves.

Funded by UK HealthCare, the project is expected to be completed by 2027, according to the release. 

“It is truly an exciting time for cancer care in the commonwealth,” Mark Evers, Markey Cancer Center director said. “I can’t wait to be here again to celebrate the opening of this new space in just a few short years.”

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