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Tanner Celebrates Cancer Center Construction Completion

Tanner Health invited former patients, staff, donors and construction teams to cut the ribbon on its ambitious renovation and expansion of the Roy Richards, Sr. Cancer Center.

The project transformed the 16,000-square-foot cancer center into a 21,000-square-foot premier destination for care.Roy Richards Sr. Cancer Center Exterior

The cancer center opened as Tanner Radiation Center in 1989, later renamed for Roy Richards, Sr., the founder of Southwire Company and Tanner Health’s first board chair who was instrumental in getting the region’s first hospital built and guided it through its fledgling early years.

“Today we not only celebrate the renovation of the Roy Richards, Sr. Cancer Center, but the advancements in cancer care at Tanner — advancements that will further excellence in patient care and treatment outcomes for the region,” said Laura Richards, daughter of Roy Richards, Sr., and Alice Huffard Richards, for whom the remodeled cancer center’s atrium is now named. “Tanner Health and cancer care are important parts of my parents’ legacy and their vision for the Carrollton and west Georgia communities.

“Leaning into service to the community, civic involvement and above all else their compassionate spirit, my parents were advocates and champions of advanced healthcare access in west Georgia,” said Richards.

During the project, crews dismantled the 1985 facility and built a new one around the two six-foot-thick concrete vaults that house the center’s linear accelerators. Temporary access to radiation treatments were provided by a temporary breezeway between the cancer center and the adjacent West Georgia Specialty Center medical office building.

Anil Dhople, MD, a board-certified radiation oncologist and the medical director and quality advisor at the Roy Richards, Sr. Cancer Center, said planning for the project alone took a year, and over 18 months of construction the center delivered care to more than 730 patients with almost 13,000 unique radiation treatments.

Laura Richards — daughter of the late Roy Richards, Sr., and Alice Huffard Richards — spoke at the dedication of the renovated and expanded Roy Richards, Sr. Cancer Center. “Leaning into service to the community, civic involvement and above all else their compassionate spirit, my parents were advocates and champions of advanced healthcare access in west Georgia,” she said. The center is now named for her father and the atrium for her mother, both stalwart early supporters for Tanner Health.And during those almost 400 treatment days, only a day and a half were lost to construction-related downtime.

“That’s a testament to the teamwork between Tanner and RaLin,” Dr. Dhople said. “Everyone at every step prioritized patient care.”

Dr. Dhople went on to thank Tanner’s board, leadership, his partner at Tanner Radiation Oncology — board-certified radiation oncologist Jason Sanders, MD — his family, the construction team at RaLin, his team at the Roy Richards, Sr. Cancer Center and, especially, the patients who underwent treatment while the center was under construction.

“Your patience is going to make a difference for the patients who come after you,” he said.

In closing remarks, Loy Howard, president and CEO at Tanner Health, asked the patients in attendance — many of whom were wearing Tanner Cancer Care “Overcomer” T-shirts — to raise their hand to be recognized. They received a round of applause.

“Dr. Dhople was deeply involved in this project from the start, and he was not looking at this from the perspective of a cancer care provider, but from how this would affect the patient’s care and experience,” said Howard. “This is a treatment center built around what patients need.”

The remarks were followed by tours of the renovated center, including exam rooms and the center’s two linear accelerators, the newest of which was installed as part of the remodel. The Varian TrueBeam with HyperSight makes Tanner the first non-academic cancer treatment provider — and the only one in the Southeast — to launch the HyperSight technology on a TrueBeam linear accelerator.

“It was a significant investment on the part of Tanner,” said Dr. Dhople. “That’s something that makes Tanner unique: at most healthcare organizations, they don’t want to make those kinds of investments unless their going to see a financial return. Tanner did it because it was going to improve patient care.”Radiation oncologists Dr. Anil Dhople and Dr. Jason Sanders with a Varian TrueBeam with HyperSight linear accelerator

The expansion also added new patient care areas, exam rooms, office space, waiting rooms and more.

More on Tanner Cancer Care, including its unique 3 Day Promise: Three Days from Diagnosis to Treatment Options, can be found at TannerCancerCare.org.