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Port Huron, MI – McLaren Port Huron is one step closer to breaking ground on one of the largest construction projects the greater Port Huron community has witnessed in decades. As part of a broad campus development strategy that began in spring 2014, the McLaren Port Huron Board of Trustees announced they have approved the project costs for the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Port Huron and a new four- or five-story patient tower.

The master facility plan, made possible by the May 2014 integration of the 132-year-old Port Huron Hospital with McLaren Health Care, will amount to more than $160 million. It will combine a renovation of the existing patient floors with a redesign of most hospital inpatient services. An additional 200,000 square feet will be added to the existing facility, and another 100,000 square feet will be renovated.

“This project will transform the face of health care in our community,” said Tom DeFauw, McLaren Port Huron president and CEO. “Our plans represent the next step in providing our community with the very latest clinical services and technology while providing greater privacy and comfort for our patients and their families. These are changes that will allow the flexibility necessary to accommodate future health care trends well into the future.”

The centerpiece of the project will be a new multi-story patient tower, which will be built at the south end of the current campus. The state-of-the-art tower will feature more than 70 private rooms; a new emergency center, an expanded intensive care unit; and an inpatient surgery/interventional suite with two cardiac catheterization labs, an electrophysiology lab and four new inpatient operating rooms that will adjoin the current operating rooms.  Groundbreaking will begin in fall of 2015 and occupancy is expected in the spring of 2017.

The hospital’s existing east tower also will be renovated as part of the master plan. The tower’s current patient rooms will be redesigned to achieve 100 percent private rooms.

 Perhaps most significant for the Blue Water region will be the addition of a 35,000 square-foot  Karmanos Cancer Institute to the campus, which will occupy the site of the current emergency center. The cancer center will offer infusion therapy and imaging technology, including a new Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator, leading-edge technology that delivers the most effective radiation therapy available. Clinical trials, cutting-edge therapies with potential benefits over standard treatments, are also expected to be offered locally. Construction for the new cancer center will commence this summer.  The facility is slated to open in the spring of 2016, with full occupancy by the end of 2017.

“There’s a significant demonstrated need for local, expanded services like cancer care so patients can receive the treatment they need close to home,” DeFauw added. “It’s estimated that about 60 percent of cancer patients in St. Clair County currently travel outside of the county to receive some of their care, while approximately 40 percent go elsewhere for radiation therapy.”

“Clinical trials are cutting-edge therapies with potential benefits over standard treatments. Today’s clinical trials lead to tomorrow’s standard of care and provide patients access to potentially better cancer treatments, as well as an opportunity to contribute to medical advances,” says Justin Klamerus, M.D., M.M.M., executive vice president, chief quality officer and oncology research medical director, Karmanos Cancer Institute. “The new facility will greatly strengthen access to new therapies and treatments available in the Blue Water region.”

Finally, an upgraded, light-filled lobby, a renovated cafeteria and other amenities will provide an enhanced visitor experience for patients’ family and friends. All renovations are expected to be completed by fall 2018.

“This expansion and renovation of our hospital campus, which often operates at near-capacity, is a reflection of our larger vision of how our campus should perform for the next 20 years,” said DeFauw. “This progressive approach coincides with our determination to remain a locally-governed, not-for-profit organization, while preserving the community’s access to high quality health care for generations to come.”