With the goal of delivering cancer care closer to the community, UMass Memorial Health Care (Worcester, Mass.) added a new cancer center at its Marlborough Hospital in central Massachusetts. UMass worked with architects from The S/L/A/M Collaborative (Glastonbury, Conn.) to build a facility  that would focus on the human experience of cancer care and provide a nurturing and healing environment.

The new cancer center expands the provider’s services from medical oncology to include radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, and the opportunity for clinical trials. The 14,000-square-foot center also houses an exam suite for comprehensive treatment. 

One of the key design decisions was the siting of the new pavilion. UMass Memorial wanted to connect it to the hospital while also providing a separate entrance to ensure patient privacy and an unencumbered arrival. The approach to the building and the entry sequence include a glass lobby that's filled with natural light by day and renders a warm glow in the evening, becoming a “beacon of hope" and a defining feature of the structure.

The interior space is crafted with exposed wood beams and enhanced by views to the facility gardens, wood wall panels, and millwork.  The associated treatment suites flank the entrance and provide clear access and orientation.

One of the challenges of the project included educating local sub-contractors on the means and methods of integrated project delivery, which was used to deliver the project. One of the successes in the collaboration was involving everyone in the design and cost decisions and keeping the project schedule and budget on track.

The design team also involved patients, families, and staff in the process to understand how they would react to the new space. The outcome is an addition that embraces the needs of the community it serves.

Project details:

Project: UMass Memorial Health Care, Marlborough Hospital Cancer Center

Architect: The S/L/A/M Collaborative

Project cost (includes equipment): $12,800,000

Total building area (GSF) new: 13,000 sf

Total area (GSF) renovation:  1,500 sf

Construction start date: March 2012

Substantial completion: March 2013

Occupancy: Fall 2013

Construction: Tocci Building Companies