The University Record, June 25, 1997

Cancer and Geriatrics Centers Building dedicated

By Kerry Colligan

A crowd of more than 800 gathered to celebrate the dedication and opening of the nine-story, 252,000-square-foot Comprehensive Cancer Center and Geriatrics Center building earlier this month

Several individuals were recognized for their generous donations and efforts including former U-M Athletic Director Bo Schembechler, President Emeritus James J. Duderstadt and philanthropists in the public and private sectors.

Including diagnostic, treatment, pharmacy, research and support services in one location, the new facility is truly a merger of the space it occupies---3.5 acres sandwiched between University Hospital and the medical science research buildings.

Funds for the $88 million facility came from a combination of internal resources, philanthropists and bonds.

"This remarkable merger is a great day of celebration and on behalf of the people of the state of Michigan, I am very proud of all who helped make this a reality," Gov. John Engler said.

The facility is designed to expedite the application of research findings to clinical care. Housing six floors dedicated to research and three to patient care, it is a product of the changing landscape of outpatient care, President Lee C. Bollinger explained.

"We are confronting a revolution for medical centers financially," he said. "But if academic medical centers can accomplish generally what has been accomplished here, there will be no doubt that they will continue to thrive and succeed."

In addition, the building design incorporates input from patients and staff to present a more comfortable healing environment.

Engler called the building's setting "less nerve-wracking" than traditional health care facilities, adding that "treatment need not take place at an abysmal location."

Max Wicha, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, dedicated the facility to patients and their families. "We are inspired by their courage and determination," Wicha said.

Wicha contends the Cancer Center was built on innovation and collaboration. The challenge is to seek knowledge and the application of knowledge.

"We have learned more in the past five years [of cancer research] than in all the other research combined. The future is to translate what we've learned into better applications, better treatments," he added.

It is a site for cutting-edge research and the latest in patient care, Interim Dean of the Medical School A. Lorris Betz said.

"This building is designed to facilitate education in all of its many dimensions and thereby amplify and expand, through their students, the excellent work of our faculty."

Jeffrey Halter, director of the Geriatrics Center, said the opening of the building is an important event in the history of the Geriatrics Center.

"This building marks a turning point for the elderly population, placing diagnostic, treatment and pharmacy services all under one roof."

The building will be a national and international training site for geriatrics, addressing the needs of the elderly through education, research and patient care, he said.

Engler added, "research conducted here will make growing old easier, enabling the elderly to look forward to a healthy future."