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Promise and Progress - Kimmel Cancer Center Set to Expand with $65 Million Gift

Reprogramming Cancer Cells - The Story of Epigenetics
Issue No. 1

Kimmel Cancer Center Set to Expand with $65 Million Gift

Date: July 16, 2014

Skip Viragh Building
Artist's Conception

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins will put a $65 million gift toward the construction of a new patient care building that will be named for the late Albert P. “Skip” Viragh, Jr., a Maryland mutual fund investment leader and philanthropist. Mr. Viragh was treated at the Kimmel Cancer Center for pancreatic cancer.  He died of the disease in 2003 at age 62.

The Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building is slated for completion in 2017 at an estimated cost of $95 million and will be primarily funded by philanthropic gifts. The 10-story structure will be located on the southeast corner of Fayette Street and North Broadway on the Johns Hopkins Medicine East Baltimore campus and will serve as the primary entry point for cancer care.

“Skip was an innovator in his world of personal finance, and, through his legacy gifts, he continues to partner with Johns Hopkins innovators in cancer care,” says William G. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., Kimmel Cancer Center Director. “The new building will be far more than a place for physician visits and diagnostic scans. It will be the place where we’ll explore novel ways to deliver cancer care and cures.”

Johns Hopkins currently serves more than 10,000 new cancer patients each year across five sites in Maryland, Dr. Nelson says. Outpatient cancer care across the U.S. is anticipated to increase by 35 percent to 40 percent over the next 10 to 15 years, he adds, underscoring the need for increased space.

The Skip Viragh Building will accommodate all medical oncology patient consultations and house multispecialty treatment clinics modeled after one for pancreas cancer—also named for Skip Viragh—to allow patients to benefit from a wide range of coordinated surgical and medical care, as well as imaging and other supportive care and services in one location. By providing all outpatient cancer services in this building, including visits, laboratory testing, clinical trials, radiology, and chemotherapy, we will optimize the comfort and efficiency of  patients’ treatment experiences.

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

The new building is expected to free up space in the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building for the expansion of outpatient services, inpatient cancer treatment, and 24-hour oncology urgent care.

The site for the new building, designed by architects Ayers Saint Gross and Wilmot Sanz, is located on one of the highest elevations in East Baltimore, and patients and visitors are expected to have views of downtown Baltimore and the Inner Harbor. The main entrance will be located on Broadway, adjacent to the Hackerman-Patz Patient and Family Pavilion, a residence for cancer patients during their treatment. 

Other facilities and services in the building will include:

  • An estimated 50 exam rooms;
  • Advanced cancer imaging, including MRI, PET-CT, ultrasound, flash CT and sonography;
  • Spaces for family conferences and tumor board meetings;
  • Breast health services, including nutritional counseling and fitness evaluation;
  • Patient support group space;
  • A patient and family education room for chemotherapy classes and general cancer education;
  • Phlebotomy services; and
  • An outpatient pharmacy.

A construction firm has not yet been finalized. 

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