AUBURN — Officials from Auburn, Cayuga County and the Syracuse area came together Tuesday to celebrate the start of construction for Auburn Community Hospital’s new cancer center.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the $15 million cancer center project took place at the corner of Lansing and North streets in the parking lot where the center will be located. The 12,000-square-foot facility is currently projected to be ready by spring 2024. The hospital is working with SUNY Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse and developer Park Grove Realty in Rochester on the venture.
“When I thought about what today was about, it’s really about hope,” hospital CEO Scott Berlucchi told the crowd under a tented area. “It’s hope for all of our cancer patients and their families. I think all of us, in one way, shape or form, have been touched by this dreadful disease.”
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Berlucchi said the incoming center “represents continued hope” for Auburn and Cayuga County.
“Yes, hope is alive today in Auburn, New York, and thanks to all of you, you’ve all made it happen,” Berlucchi said to the crowd.
A medical oncology and hematology center within the hospital’s main building opened two years ago. The new center will allow the hospital to add radiation oncology services to its current cancer treatment offerings, which began in collaboration with Upstate cancer physicians.
Tony Franceschelli, chair of ACH’s board of trustees, also expressed excitement for the project.
“It’s my pleasure to serve on this board and help this community, and we’re going to make this project a thing of beauty for this community,” he said.
Others who spoke Tuesday included Auburn Mayor Mike Quill, Dr. Amy Tucker, chief medical officer of hospital administration at Upstate University Hospital and David Gould, chair of the Cayuga County Legislature and a member of the Auburn hospital’s board of trustees. Officials later dug some gold-colored shovels into the ground for the groundbreaking.
In an interview after the event, Berlucchi said the current oncology and hematology work is “a new service line,” as opposed to previous building projects that were connected to already existing services at the hospital.
“This is a brand new service, comprehensive cancer care, hematology, oncology, radiation oncology, a PET scan, this is a whole new service line that our entire community had to travel to Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse (for,) and now we can all come here and the outlying areas can all come here and they can get world-class medicine right here through us and our venture with SUNY Upstate,” Berlucchi said.
Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.