Sarasota Memorial Hospital broke ground on its new cancer tower, the second step toward a new cancer institute for the Suncoast.

The new 8-story cancer care tower will hold 56 private suites and 9 operating rooms.

 “This is a fairly massive undertaking besides the bricks and mortar,” Sarasota Memorial Cancer Institute Medical Director Dr. Richard Brown

Sarasota Memorial’s $220 million dollar investment in a new cancer tower is just one step in their plan to build a new cancer institute.

“When we took a look at what was really needed in the community it was a comprehensive cancer center,” Verinder said. “Took a look at that 5 years ago, we’ve been in the planning, development, and financing all along since then, and today we break ground.”

The new tower will be filled with state of the art equipment for research and clinical trials.

“Whether it’s moving forward with new innovations on immunotherapy,” Dr. Brown said. “Or Car-T which I’m sure people have heard about, we’re positioning ourselves to be participants.”

The new tower is expected to be completed in 2021, but Cancer Institute Medical Director Dr. Richard Brown says they are already changing the way they provide care.”

“We have been organizing ourselves into site specific teams to try and improve the coordination and collaboration between the various specialists that are involved in cancer care delivery now.”

Hospital CEO David Verinder says this will allow the growing number of cancer patients to receive state of the art care at home.

“Instead of people having to leave the area,” Verinder said. “Or feeling like they have to leave the area and go somewhere else around the country, to Tampa or anywhere else, they’ll be able to receive care right here.”

This is the second phase of the new cancer institute, they broke ground on phase one, the Radiation Oncology Center on University earlier this year.