Community Memorial Health System, Where Excellence Begins With Caring
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Articles / 2010

Groundbreaking ceremony spotlights Ventura cancer center

Ventura County Star
Friday, 03/25/2010
By Emily Vizzo

After a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to honor the beginnings of a new $8 million cancer center at Community Memorial Hospital, physicians, volunteers and other attendees peered over a wall to view the construction site.

The compacted dirt, mounds of broken rocks and construction machinery encircled by a green construction fence at the corner of Brent Street and Loma Vista Road is scheduled to become a two-story facility consolidating several treatment programs by November 2010.

“We do not have to go anywhere else in this area for superlative care,” said Gary Wilde, Community Memorial CEO. “We can make more cancer patients become cancer survivors.”

The center is part of a $320 million overhaul initiated by the Community Memorial Health System to upgrade facilities, including the construction of a six-story hospital to be completed by 2014, and meeting state earthquake mandates.

The 1994 Northridge earthquake caused $3 billion in hospital-related damage and evacuations in California, according to a 2001 state-commissioned study. Hospital building requirements have since become more stringent.

Community Memorial currently serves 1,000 new cancer patients annually — more than the Ventura County Medical Center and St. John’s Cancer Center of Ventura County at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard combined — with an additional 200 people undergoing a second course of treatment, said cancer program manager Kathleen Horton.

The center was accredited by the American College of Surgeons in 2008.

Architect Scott Boydstun of Rasmussen & Associates in Ventura designed the new facility to blend with some of the 1950s architecture around midtown Ventura, he said. The design includes earth-friendly touches such as natural lighting, efficient plumbing fixtures and carpet made from sustainable materials.

The 22,000-square-foot facility will house experts in various cancer-related fields, making it easier for patients to seek treatment and possibly reducing the number of county residents who travel to Los Angeles-area facilities for treatment, said chief operating officer Adam Thunell.

The new center will eventually house programs including chemotherapy treatment, cancer diagnosis, blood disease treatment, cancer support groups and wellness services. Cancer specialists already meet three or four times weekly to discuss current cases, said radiation oncologist Dr. Tom Fogel.

“The more efficient we are, the better off we’re going to be,” Fogel said.

At the ceremony, Ventura Deputy Mayor Mike Tracy noted the hospital has been around in various incarnations since 1901 and has a long-standing relationship with the city of Ventura.

“We see the investment of over $300 million in our community as reinventing our midtown,” Tracy said.