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Hopkins gets $65M to put toward new cancer facility

The cancer center at Johns Hopkins Hospital has received a $65 million gift that will be put toward construction of an outpatient cancer treatment facility, officials announced Tuesday.

The new building will be built on Hopkins’ medical campus in East Baltimore at the corner of Fayette Street and Broadway. It is scheduled to be completed by 2017 and will be funded primarily through donations.

The facility will be named for the late Albert P. “Skip” Viragh Jr., a Maryland mutual fund leader and philanthropist who died of pancreatic cancer in 2003 after being treated for the disease at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

The Skip Viragh Building will serve as the primary entry point for cancer patients who come to Hopkins, officials said, and it will help accommodate an estimated 35-40 percent increase in the number of new cancer cases within 15 years that are partially due to an aging population.

The facility will be designed with patients’ convenience in mind, although the exact size and layout have not been finalized, according to a spokeswoman. Patients will be able to receive consultations and treatments under one roof, and oncologists will be more easily able to collaborate with radiologists, surgeons and other specialists.

“Patients with many different types of cancer will be able to get all of their services in this building, including visits, laboratory testing, clinical trials, radiology and chemotherapy, greatly increasing the comfort and efficiency of their treatment experience,” the director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, Dr. William Nelson, said in a statement.

The facility, which will have between eight and 10 floors, is being designed by architecture firms Ayers Saint Gross Inc., based in Baltimore, and Gaithersburg-based Wilmot Sanz Inc. A construction firm has not yet been selected.

The facility will include about 50 exam rooms, advanced imaging equipment, breast health services, a pharmacy, support group areas, phlebotomy services and more. It is adjacent to the Hackerman-Patz Patient and Family Pavilion, where cancer patients can stay during their treatment.

Officials could not yet estimate a groundbreaking date or the total cost of the project, but a spokeswoman said the $65 million gift represents “a sizeable amount” of the total.

Every year, Hopkins serves about 10,000 new cancer patients across five sites in Maryland, officials said.

Skip Viragh’s brother, Mark Viragh, said in a statement he was pleased more patients will be able to access comprehensive care thanks to the new center.

“Skip’s cancer experience taught us that having a place like Johns Hopkins is a key element in fighting the disease,” he said. “And now, with Skip’s help, Johns Hopkins will be able to offer innovative, easy-to-navigate care for many more people with cancer.”