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Bronson plans $60 million cancer center in downtown Kalamazoo COURTESY RENDERING

Bronson plans $60 million cancer center in downtown Kalamazoo

BY Friday, March 15, 2019 11:56am

KALAMAZOO — Bronson Healthcare plans to develop a $60 million outpatient cancer pavilion at its downtown campus.

The five-story, 85,000-square-foot office structure will rise at Vine Street and John Street, across from the Medical Office Pavilion on Bronson’s South Campus in Kalamazoo. Construction could begin this spring with occupancy targeted for early 2021.

The new cancer pavilion will take a “comprehensive approach” to cancer care, Bronson President and CEO Frank Sardone told MiBiz in an exclusive interview. It will house Bronson’s adult outpatient cancer care, including hematology, an oncology clinic, an infusion center, diagnostic and genetic services, palliative care and other support services for patients.

“We are working to develop a clinically integrated regional cancer program that provides superior outcomes for the many adults and children who come to Bronson for care,” Sardone said. “Beyond delivering clinical excellence, our focus is on improving the overall experience for patients and families so that each person’s pathway through treatment is fully understood and supported.”

The project will give Bronson a second cancer center, in addition to the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center.

Planning for the new downtown Kalamazoo pavilion began after the West Michigan Cancer Center and Institute for Blood Disorders, a partnership between Bronson and Ascension Borgess, decided nearly a year ago to transition medical oncology and infusion services to each hospital. The move will allow both hospitals to integrate all of the medical care cancer patients require and provide continuity and coordination of care through their electronic medical records.

The change was driven as well by capacity issues at the West Michigan Cancer Center that arose as most cancer patients today are treated as outpatients.

West Michigan Cancer Center, developed 25 years ago in the partnership with Borgess, has been “very successful” and undergone past expansions before reaching capacity, Sardone said.

“Cancer care has shifted and evolved dramatically over the past number of years from predominantly being treated as inpatient to almost exclusively on an outpatient basis,” he said. “We’re at the point where although the care is great, we’re running up against capacity and space constraints. So the decision was made to take the medical oncology portion of activities that go on there to each hospital.”

Radiation therapy in Kalamazoo will remain at the West Michigan Cancer Center.

Bronson recently sought and a received waiver from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that alleviated the need to go through a state certificate-of-need review for the new cancer pavilion.

Diekema Hamann Architecture & Engineering LLC designed the facility and CSM Group Inc. will manage the project for Bronson. Both firms are based in Kalamazoo.

The hospital plans to mount a capital campaign through the Bronson Health Foundation to support development of the cancer pavilion. An ongoing feasibility study will determine “what the appropriate amount is” to target in a capital campaign, Sardone said.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in people wanting to invest not only in the community but also specifically in cancer care,” he said. “So we’re testing and assessing that right now.”

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