Southside Regional Breaks Ground on New Cancer Center
By Caitlin Davis
Oct 15, 2012, 14:12
photo by Caitin Davis Mayor of Petersburg, Brian Moore, celebrates the groundbreaking of the combined $10 million medical office building on the grounds of SRMC. He said the building represents the community moving forward in cancer care
A pile of dirt and a row of hardhats and gold plated shovels represented the new phase for Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg. Hospital staff, community leaders and partners gathered to break ground on the combined $10 million Medical Arts Pavilion on Thursday morning.
The groundbreaking ceremony to kick-off the project had words of thanks and excitement as the new, 32,500 square foot facility began construction. Once complete, it will offer state-of-the-art cancer care and women’s imaging.
Michael Yungmann, CEO for SRMC, said the groundbreaking was a new chapter in the history of the hospital. He remembered discussing the project in August 2008 and is now able to see the plans become a reality.
“We have seen phenomenal growth,” Yungmann said. “And we are still growing.”
The new medical center is set to open in August next year.
Rev. Grady Powell, member of the SRMC Board of Trustees, took a trip back in history to when he gave the invocation on a similar occasion for a hospital that was breaking ground on a new addition. Powell said he had been deep in thought the night before and on his way to the ceremony for the new facility.
“I thought about how many persons that wing served over 50 years,” Powell said. “And then I thought this morning, ‘Here we are to break ground, 50 years from now, how many people will have been served.’”
The planning for the new Medical Arts Pavilion was done in partnership by Rendina Companies, which specializes in health care real estate development, Timmons Group, a civil engineering firm, environmental and geospatial consulting services and Davis Stokes Collaborative, an architectural firm.
Todd Varney, Executive Vice-President with Rendina Companies, said he was not just there as a representative of his firm. He was also there representing a person that could walk through the doors.
“Today I come to you as a cancer survivor,” Varney said.
Varney said the new building means a great deal to those at Rendina.
Richard Rendina, Chairman and CEO of Rendina Companies, continued with that message, saying that cancer had touched many in attendance at the ceremony, including himself.
“I myself lost my father to brain cancer six years ago,” Rendina said.
Rendina himself was diagnosed with cancer in Feb. of last year. He has spent many hours in hospitals and said the best relationships are the ones he has had with the nurses and doctors who have helped him though his diagnosis.
“They are not only saving lives, they are helping you fight for your own,” Rendina said.
Rendina said behind the walls of the new facility and of hospitals around the surrounding area were doctors and nurses playing a vital role to the health care of community members.
Petersburg Mayor, Brian Moore, said this new cancer center will continue to move not only Petersburg, but also the entire region, forward. And, as the shovels lay in wait to scoop the newly dug dirt, he wanted to remind those in attendance the building was much more.
“It is more than about a building,” Moore said. “It is more than 32,000 square feet, it’s more than about the ground, it more than just having a place to park. It’s about the quality care and the level of respect.”
William Young, Jr., Chairman of the SRMC Board of Trustees, shared a similar message with the audience. He said this new medical facility was going to mean significant changes to healthcare in the community.
“Just look around. The vision for the future is already here,” Young said. “Our vision has been about more than bricks and mortar. It’s about the caliber of services we provide.”
David Penberthy, MD, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director for SRMC Cancer Center, spoke about the vision and the future for the new medical center. He said the new building will be equipped with new technology to better serve the community.
“It will allow us to enhance and expand oncology services that we have available in this community,” Penberthy said.
Despite the new technology, which Penberthy admitted he loves, he said medical care is more than just about machines and wires.
“As much as I love technology I also recognize that oncology is a deeply human endeavor,” Penberthy said. “It really is all about the people.”
One of those people behind all the bricks and mortar and machines, Lucy Mendoza, a cancer patient treated at SRMC, spoke about her battle with breast cancer. Her life changed when she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in 2009.
Since then, Mendoza has gone through chemotherapy and has suffered three heart attacks. Despite her uphill battle, she praised those who helped her along the way.
“I had people that are going to be working for this cancer center that sat right by me and held my hand when I cried, having problems, and was right there to say it was going to be ok,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza said the new cancer center will help many people in need of treatment who might find it difficult to arrange transportation to a more distant facility. She said the cancer will take care of the community in the community.
She ended her speech with words of hope and praise.
“I’m just glad to be here,” Mendoza said. “I’m glad that I have been allowed three years. I hope to see my boys and my grandkids graduate...It’s just not the building, it is the people that are going to be in that building.”
photo by Caitlin Davis With shovels in hand, the groundbreakers scoop the dirt to throw to signify the new chapter for SRMC. The hospital is set to open a combined $10 million medical office building in Aug. of 2013.
And with some of the final words, the groundbreakers put on their hardhats and picked up their shovels to take the first scoop on the way to better cancer care in the region.