Published Thursday, August 04, 2011
By Jeff Bishop
The Newnan Times-Herald
Cancer Treatment Centers of America's three-hour, multi-tent groundbreaking event Wednesday morning celebrated the coming to Newnan of a $150 million state-of-the-art regional cancer hospital, scheduled to open its doors just a little over a year from now.
The 212,000-square-foot hospital is expected to bring 500 new jobs and $500 million in economic activity during its first five years of operation.
"We wanted to be here because the people here have shown us friendliness and warmth," said David Kent, assistant vice-president of new business development for CTCA. "We're excited to be a part of this community."
Work on the site at Newnan Crossing Bypass actually began weeks before the official groundbreaking, and "you can see some of the main beams going up right now," Kent pointed out.
(To view or purchase photos from this event, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and navigate to News and click on the Cancer Treatment Center groundbreaking gallery.)
He said about 50 current CTCA employees will likely be pulled to work at the new hospital when it opens next September, and another 100 will be recruited from the metro Atlanta area.
CTCA founder Richard J. Stephenson said that he set out in 1988 to "change the face of cancer care in America," following the death of his mother.
"She was not well-served. She was denied treatment options that we know could have saved her life," said Stephenson. "That was unfair."
Stephenson said that the heart of CTCA's philosophy is that the patient is boss.
"Every day, we are changing the face of cancer treatment," he said. "We're going to reveal the hopeful options. We're going to prove the science. We're going to bring that philosophy to this village and we're going to make you proud."
Coweta County Commission Chairman Rodney Brooks said that he was impressed with CTCA from the moment he visited its main hospital in Tulsa, Okla. It looked nothing like any hospital he'd ever seen, he said.
"I thought, this is awesome. We need this in the Southeast. These folks have a vision ... Let's do whatever it takes to get them here," said Brooks. "Thank you for choosing Coweta County."
Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said that the "energy in the room" at the groundbreaking was palpable.
"This is more like a pep rally than a ribbon-cutting ceremony," said Cagle. "Georgia thanks you, and Coweta County is going to embrace you with open arms."
He thanked Senator Tommie Williams for his work in bringing CTCA to Georgia.
"No one has fought harder for this than Tommie Williams," said Cagle. "He took this head-on."
"Today's groundbreaking for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan marks a new era of hope for those fighting cancer across the Southeast," said Williams.
"Not only are we bringing hundreds of new jobs to Georgia, but we are now able to offer these patients the attention and care they deserve, which is a paramount goal for our state. With the support of the legislature, the community, and the incredible team at CTCA, we can help adults from across the Southeast win the battle against this horrible disease," Williams said.
CTCA President and CEO Stephen Bonner led the outdoor ceremonial planting of a tree, which he said symbolizes the "circle of life" emblazoned on the CTCA logo.
"We recognize that every day that we live, whether we have cancer or not, is a gift," said Bonner.
CTCA plants trees to recognize the numerous cancer survivors it has treated, he said.
"We've planted thousands of trees -- a forest," Bonner said. "Now let's put some roots down here in Newnan, Georgia!"
SOUTHEAST CTCA HOSPITAL AT A GLANCE:
• Opening: September 2012
• Location: In Newnan at Newnan Crossing Bypass, off I-85 (about 25 miles southwest of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport).
• 212,000-square-foot, fully- digital hospital focused exclusively on treating cancer.
• Among the hospital features: 50 beds, ICU rooms, surgical suites, state-of-the-art radiation and infusion therapy departments, an on-site outpatient clinic, rehabilitation and physical therapy, and on-site residential accommodations for outpatients and their families.
• The hospital is expected to generate $500 million in economic activity over the first five years, and create approximately 500 new jobs after the fifth year of operation.
• Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue recognized the CTCA project as one of the “State of Georgia’s Top 10 Economic Development Projects.”
• With more than two-thirds of its patients expected to come from outside the state of Georgia, patients and their families will also contribute to the growth and vitality of the local economy.
• Project website: www.cancercenter.com/southeast