CIBO members tour new cancer center at Mission

By Catherine Hunter –

When it opened it was the largest chemo therapy center in North Carolina. Now it’s second only to Duke University. Approximately 30 members of the Council of Independent Business Owners toured the new Cancer Center at Mission Hospital Thursday, November 15.

“Many CIBO members were instrumental in helping get this facility in the community,” said CIBO staff member Patty Beaver. “It [the tour] gives the membership an opportunity to see what the center has to offer.”

The 120,000-square-foot, five-story center is located off Victoria Road and McDowell Street, near the hospital’s main campus. The center opened in October of 2011 and provides outpatient cancer treatment services for people not only in Western North Carolina, but as far away as Eastern Tennessee and Northern Georgia.

“This keeps patients from having to undergo the physical stress of traveling long distances,” said John Locke, Director of Development and Philanthropic Initiatives for Mission Hospitals. Locke said the center not only offered treatments, but had its own lab facility and pharmacy.

“Patients can get everything done right here,” he said.

According to Locke, the center is now treating 150 patients a day and will soon increase to full capacity of 180 a day. They also employ around 70 full time staff and nearly 100 part time employees.

“We’re almost full in one year,” Locke said. “That’s how necessary this facility is.”

Patients have the options of receiving treatment in a private room or a community room setting. Treatment chairs in the community room are heated, recline and offer massage settings. Locke explained the community or private treatment options and the psycho-social element which is so important in healing.

“It’s peaceful and serene,” remarked CIBO member Tom Muncy who owns Working Capital Brokerage. “We needed this. It’s more than just the building, it’s the quality of care.”

The CIBO members were able to explore the Cyberknife radiation room in the basement of the building. Cyberknife offers high energy targeted radiation in a lead lined room with three foot thick concrete walls. Other radiation rooms in the building have walls as thick as eight feet.

The $59 million facility is Mission Hospital’s first building to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, an internationally recognized green-building certification and one of only three in the US. Many of the building’s design elements such as capture and reuse of rainwater, native plants used for its grounds and local stone used in its construction, helped qualify it for this certification

Locke explained that a large portion of the building’s cost was donated by members of the community.

“We raised $15 million in just two years,” he said.

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