Construction is underway for Texas Oncology’s new cancer center, a consolidation of the organization’s Eighth Avenue, 12th Avenue and Klabzuba facilities. The new facility, located at 500 Henderson St., is expected to open in spring 2018. Texas Oncology will occupy three of the four stories in the 100,000-square-foot building, with the fourth story used as physician office space. Dallas-based Cambridge Holdings, Inc. is developing the project, which also includes a parking garage.
With a new cancer care facility comes the opportunity to purchase updated equipment, as well as design spaces that are more accommodating and comfortable for patients.
“Sometimes we underestimate just how important it is to simply have a peaceful environment for patients to enjoy,” said Jerry Barker, a radiation oncologist with Texas Oncology. “This transition with a new facility has given us the opportunity to really design with that in mind and try to create an environment that is a healing environment.”
The infusion room on the third floor, for example, will feature “inviting” decor and “homey” lighting, practice director Marta Hansard said. Some treatment areas will be designed to mimic a living room or communal space, while other areas will be more individualized and personal.
“Different patients react differently to treatments,” Hansard said. “[Some patients] want to be in a more community setting, or they’d like to be in a more private setting, so we have multiple options.”
The new facility also offers potential for growth, with room to add physicians and bring in additional service providers to the medical oncology floor, Hansard said.
Moving also presents the opportunity to purchase updated equipment for radiation and imaging, Barker said.
But perhaps one of the best benefits of the consolidated cancer center, Hansard says, is the ability to easily move patients between treatments.
Barker said it’s not uncommon for cancer patients to move from one facility to another for chemotherapy and radiation treatment, an ordeal that affects not just Texas Oncology patients, but cancer patients everywhere.
“Patients with cancer these days have very complicated diseases that require very complicated care and a multiplicity of specialists,” Barker said. “This can be a lot of different tests, procedures, treatments or therapies, inside and outside our practice. Really, our goal is to take some of this ever-increasing complexity and simplify it as much as we can.”
In the new facility, patient appointments can be scheduled consecutively, allowing the patient to simply move between rooms and floors in one building, as opposed to traveling among two or three different buildings about half a mile apart from one another.
Texas Oncology facilities are typically consolidated, but Fort Worth was the exception, Barker said. The Fort Worth cancer center was built over time as practices joined and real estate was acquired.
But the organization always had interest in bringing the campuses together, Barker said. So three years ago, Texas Oncology’s physician team, which included Barker, decided to sit down and make plans for a new facility.
“Despite the challenges associated with designing, constructing and moving into a new facility, we really felt like this was so much better for our patients,” Barker said. “They really deserved this.”
The hardest part was finding a location, Hansard said. Texas Oncology was determined to stay in the Medical District, close to partners like Texas Health Harris Methodist and Cancer Care Services of North Texas. Late last year, Texas Oncology secured its spot on Henderson Street.
“It is just south of Interstate 30 in downtown Fort Worth, so very easily accessible for patients who have to travel into Fort Worth from any outlying communities, as well as folks who live right here,” Barker said.
Ground broke for the project in April.
“We are excited about elements of design with the building that really bring a sense of hope and a sense of peace to patients who are struggling with complicated diseases and complicated treatments,” Barker said.
Texas Oncology was founded in 1986. The organization as a whole treats more than 50,000 patients each year.