Tanner Health System’s Roy Richards, Sr. Cancer Center
is embarking on a major facility expansion — and will continue offering state-of-the-art radiation therapy treatments throughout the process.
Moving in phases, crews will relocate the center’s CT scanner, raze and rebuild the building’s façade along Clinic Avenue into a two-story structure, renovate the back of the facility for office space and patient waiting areas — and install a new TrueBeam linear accelerator.
All while continuing to provide radiation therapy treatments on its world-class linear accelerators — each already in six-foot poured concrete vaults — while the work continues.
“It’s going to give us a facility that’s as impressive as the care we provide inside it,” said Anil Dhople, MD,
a board-certified radiation oncologist with Tanner Radiation Oncology and the medical director and oncology quality advisor with Tanner Cancer Care. “Our priority is patient experience and ensuring every patient continues their care — so we’re keeping the resources they need available throughout construction and renovation.”
Because the linear accelerators are carefully calibrated machines housed in thick concrete vaults that provide daily radiation treatments to patients — often five days a week for up to six weeks or more — relocating them is not an option and taking them offline during construction would leave patients without access to a vital cancer treatment. So, crews will carefully rebuild the center around the vaults so that patients can continue their treatments.
“We’re committed to giving patients the best care possible,” said Jason Sanders, MD,
a board-certified radiation oncologist with Tanner Radiation Oncology and a member of the patient care team at Tanner Cancer Care. “This facility will help us do that: give everyone the best possible treatment and experience through their cancer journeys.”
The new linear accelerator will also help the cancer center expand its services by offering newer radiation treatment techniques for different cancer diagnoses.
Work has begun to build new space for the CT scanner — used to measure tumors and plan treatments — as well as other equipment.
Once the CT is relocated to its new space, early next year, work will proceed on razing and rebuilding the front of the cancer center, adding exam rooms and other amenities for patients. By the fall, the new space will be complete and work will begin on the back of the center, creating office space and enhanced waiting areas.
The entire project is expected to be complete by spring 2024, transforming the almost 16,000-square-foot cancer center into a premier 21,000-square-foot destination for care. The expansion is expected to cost about $15 million.
When work begins on the front of the cancer center, patients will be diverted to the adjacent medical office building — West Georgia Specialty Center — where a newly constructed, enclosed hallway will provide access to radiation treatments. Tanner will provide free valet service at the West Georgia Specialty Center entrance and have staff available to help patients and their loved ones reach their destinations.
The offices of Tanner Radiation Oncology
— Dr. Dhople and Dr. Sanders — will relocate to an office suite on the third floor of the West Georgia Specialty Center, adjacent to the cancer center.
The cancer center first opened in July 1989, and was named for Roy Richards, Sr. — founder of Southwire and the first chair of Tanner’s board — in 1997. The service has grown through the years to offer a continuum of care — featuring minimally invasive surgical care, leading-edge chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatment, a tumor board of cancer specialists to discuss individual cases, and versatile radiation therapy that aims to destroy cancer cells with minimal impact to healthy tissue.
“Our cancer program is one of our greatest achievements as a community,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner. “The team there has always provided compassionate, uncompromising care, and our leadership has been dedicated to making sure they have the resources and technology they need to give patients the same level of care that they’d have in a more urban setting.
“With this expansion, more cancer patients will enjoy a better experience throughout their cancer journeys,” Howard said.
For more on Tanner’s cancer services, visit TannerCancerCare.org.