Ground has been broken on the latest expansion of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, with both the economic and physical health of the Bay area being the main beneficiaries.
Moffitt Cancer Center's new outpatient care facility will be located on McKinley Drive, about two miles south of Moffitt's main site on the University of South Florida's Tampa campus. The 200,000 square foot, eight story structure will feature four ambulatory surgical suites and clinical space for Moffitt's breast and skin cancer programs.
State Surgeon General, Dr. John Armstrong, said the fact that Florida has more than 100-thousand residents diagnosed with cancer each year, the second highest rate in the nation, makes the growth of Moffitt - already the country's third largest cancer care center - necessary.
"This expansion will help Florida's families to have world-class cancer care that is informed with state-of-the-art research," Armstrong said.
The creation of the new outpatient facility will allow Moffitt to alter its main facility at USF. Planned changes there include improved in-patient services, expansion and renovation of operating rooms, and expanded clinic space and blood draw areas.
At the same time, government officials say the 626 temporary construction jobs and 220 permanent jobs that the new facility are expected to create are also a boon.
"This is what the future of our economy looks like right here," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said at a Friday morning news conference. "Not only are folks going to get world-class cancer treatment, equally as important, they'll be creating the jobs of the future."
The McKinley Outpatient facility is slated to open in February 2015, at a projected cost of $74.2 million. Much of that funding comes from state taxes on sales of tobacco.