THE NEIGHBORHOOD CANCER CENTER
Reported by HealthCare Design magazine (December, 2005)
How does one move a high-tech cancer treatment center, complete with linear accelerator, from an overcrowded hospital basement to a classic residential neighborhood without driving the neighbors away? That was the challenge faced by Shore Memorial Hospital in the Atlantic City region of southern New Jersey.
The 296-bed facility, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania health system, had been providing cancer treatment since 1983 and radiation therapy with a linear accelerator since 1991, in a typical hospital basement setting. But the program was outgrowing the basement, and the linear accelerator was aging. It was obviously time for a move, and the location selected was land the hospital owned across the street that fronted on a colonial/Victorian “Main Street” setting in Somers Point—an area boasting a local historical society very much involved in setting architectural guidelines.
Chosen to meet the design challenge of integrating high-tech cancer care into a neighborhood was Fenwick Architects, a local architectural firm with long ties to the community. Having designed a wide variety of structures, from medical office buildings to private homes, for more than 20 years, the Fenwick firm was taking on its first hospital project. The result, by all accounts, was an aesthetic and technical success: blending in with the community, offering a comforting patient care environment, and accommodating a $1.7 million Varian Medical Systems’ Clinac 21EX linear accelerator in its demanding surroundings.