Only on 12: Azziz looks to build new 'comprehensive' cancer center

News 12 First at Five / Thursday, April 26, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Cynthia Tomaszewski spends four hours of her day every other week at Georgia Health Sciences Cancer Center.

"I have stage-four breast cancer," Tomaszewski said. "That can be very scary."

But Tomaszewski is determined to be there for her three small children.

"We're going to win this thing," she said. "We're going to fight through it."

The hospital is hoping to improve the patient experience with a new "comprehensive cancer center" building.

The idea is to move into a new building that houses the research, clinical and radiation center. It is all part of a larger plan to improve the medical complex.

"We're beginning to try to figure out how to craft those plans and how to pay for them," said GHSU President Dr. Ricardo Azziz.

We got our hands on a draft that claims "approximately $95,000,000 is required to finance the entire project." The document suggests issuing tax-exempt and taxable bonds issued by the Richmond County Development Authority and/or through direct placement with a commercial banker (as the case may be) as revenue bonds in an amount that will approximate up to $75,000,000. The corporation would likely advance funds prior to the issuance of bonds with the intent of being reimbursed from the proceeds of the bonds.

The plans also call for a new parking structure and new main entrance to the 70-year-old hospital building.

"We have to figure out how to best use the hospital and update it at the same time," Azziz said.

Word of combining the clinical and research buildings comes as welcome news to Tomaszewski who works with young students.

"People who are younger and younger are being diagnosed," she said. "And we need to why."

Azziz says he hopes to see the plan come to fruition over the next three years.


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