By Tim Kedzuch
The Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah celebrated in September the groundbreaking of the next major expansion on the cancer campus. The Kathryn F. Kirk Center for Comprehensive Cancer Care and Women’s Cancers at HCI will contain eight stories, with a floor dedicated to women’s cancers; a new endoscopy center; increased services for blood and marrow transplant patients; an expansion of the HCI Wellness and Integrative Health Center; and 48 new inpatient hospital rooms. Lead donors Spencer and Kristen Kirk named the building in honor of Mr. Kirk’s mother.
“HCI is the official cancer center of Utah,” said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony. “There are 100 beds here right now and, unfortunately, they’re almost always full. That speaks to the growing need of the citizens of Utah and the Mountain West to have a place for the world-class cancer care HCI has always provided.” HCI is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West, the highest national designation possible for a cancer research and care center.
Located at the north end of the cancer campus, the building will connect to the cancer hospital. Utility work has already started on the project. Building construction will begin in January 2020 with an estimated completion date of August 2022. The building will be approximately 205,000 square-feet. Architectural Nexus, who designed the previous four phases of the HCI cancer campus, created the plans for phase V. Layton Construction will bring the design to life.
The expansion is projected to cost $148 million. To date, more than 40 donors have committed a total of $104 million to the project. When the new building is fully operational, the number of annual outpatient visits at HCI will grow from 125,000 to 180,000.
The expansion continues the vision of HCI founders, Jon M. and Karen Huntsman. Mr. Huntsman, who passed away in 2018, established Huntsman Cancer Foundation in 1995 as a public charitable foundation with a singular mission to support HCI and its fight to eradicate cancer. Peter Huntsman, HCF chairman and CEO, commented, “My father lost his mother to breast cancer and this generation of his family are proud to be able to continue his commitment. Our family, together with a hugely supportive donor base and wonderful care providers, will not only build an exceptional center that will focus on women’s cancer treatment, research, and education, but will also support, long into the future, the finest researchers, care providers, and support staff in the world.” The Huntsman family donated $30 million to the project through the Huntsman Foundation.
“This is the fifth major expansion to the HCI cancer campus since 1995,” said Mary Beckerle, CEO of HCI. “That kind of growth is astonishing but necessary because cancer is the second leading cause of death in Utah. More than 11,000 Utahns will be diagnosed with cancer this year. With more than a million donors who joined with us over the past 25 years, we are making an extraordinary impact on our mission to eradicate cancer from the face of the earth.”