By GREGORY ZELLER //
A leading cancer-research and treatment institution is making headway in the significant expansion of its Long Island footprint.
The New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – which already maintains treatment facilities in Rockville Centre, Commack and Hauppauge – trumpeted Thursday the coming of its new 114,000-square-foot cancer-treatment center in Uniondale, adjacent to NYCB Live, the new moniker of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Construction of the freestanding, $140 million clinic actually began in March and is “well underway,” according to Memorial Sloan Kettering, with MSK Nassau slated to open in 2019. The cancer center, which first announced its Uniondale plans in 2015, purchased five acres on the Nassau Coliseum site in December 2016 and has left enough room for a future 25,000-square-foot expansion of its new clinic.
When MSK Nassau opens, the NYC mothership plans to close its Rockville Centre facility and transfer staff to the new facility, which will feature more than 20 doctors and surgeons specializing in radiation oncology, radiology and other cancer-related disciplines – all part of “the area’s most comprehensive cancer care center,” MSK said prior to Thursday’s “beam-signing” event at the construction site.
Memorial Sloan Kettering officials were joined by community and county leaders at the press event, which was designed to highlight the building process to date. Construction of MSK Nassau is being led by the NYC-based Hunter Roberts Construction Group, which also built MSK’s West Harrison facility, working off architectural designs by Big Apple-based Ewing Cole.
Craig Thompson, MSK’s president and chief executive, said it was “incredibly exciting to see these buildings take the next step in their transformation from vision to reality.”
“They will provide MSK with the ability to serve more Long Island residents who are touched by cancer,” Thompson noted, adding the cancer center was “deeply appreciative” of the support it’s received from state, county and municipal officials throughout the process.
The treatment center and an adjacent five-story parking garage will continue MSK’s legacy of service to cancer patients in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties. That includes service provided since 1997 by the cancer center’s Rockville Center facility, which offers chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation treatments and other services in conjunction with the Mercy Medical Center, part of Catholic Health Services of Long Island.
As cancer care has “shifted to the outpatient setting,” patient demand simply outpaced what the 25,000-square-foot Rockville Centre facility could handle, according to MSK.
“The demand for services grew rather rapidly at Rockville Centre,” noted Richard Barakat, director of MSK’s Regional Care Network. “It quickly became evident that our ability to deliver care optimally was only limited by space.
“With this much larger facility, we’ll be able to do this more seamlessly.”
Those more-seamless services will address virtually every aspect of cancer care, with MSK Nassau equipped for medical oncology, surgical consultations, screening services (such as mammographies) and a host of “personalized medicine” options, including “access to clinical trials,” the cancer center said.
The new treatment center will naturally be stocked with cutting-edge technologies, including the latest PET, CT, MRI and ultrasound imaging systems, pinpoint radiation tools and advanced pathology-testing capabilities.
But the human element – the “strength and experience of our clinical teams” – is what will set MSK Nassau apart, according to Barakat.
“With a team approach to patient care, we combine the skills and experience of multiple oncology experts,” the Regional Care director noted. “This patient-centric model has proven successful in managing cancer care, which is often full of complexities.”