Baltimore, MD – Haskell celebrated the “topping out” of the massive structure for the Maryland Proton Treatment Center with the project’s owner and developer, Advanced Particle Therapy; the clinical partner, The University of Maryland School of Medicine and project management firm Signet Development. The event marked a significant milestone in the delivery of the highly complex and technically advanced $200+ million collaborative healthcare project that will bring the most advanced radiation technology in cancer treatment only nine months after breaking ground. “Topping out” is a major construction milestone, marking the last beam being placed in the building’s structure. The facility is scheduled to begin treating patients in 2015.
At the ceremony, a giant crane hoisted a nine-foot beam three stories above the street and rested it in place at the top of what will be a 122,000-square-foot building in the University of Maryland BioPark in West Baltimore.
Nearly 400 invited guests - including construction workers and leadership from all the partner organizations - signed the white beam in a rainbow of colors before it was put in place. Each color represented a different cancer: i.e., gray for brain cancer, pink for breast cancer, orange for kidney cancer, etc. In keeping with a long-standing tradition of the topping out ceremony, the beam carried with it an evergreen tree and an American flag.
The new treatment center will be the first in the Baltimore-Washington area to offer proton therapy. Proton beam therapy is the next generation of radiation oncology, offered by fewer than a dozen centers around the country. It allows unprecedented precision in its ability to deliver a dose of lifesaving radiation therapy directly to the tumor while minimizing ration the healthy tissue surround it, providing a more effective treatment with fewer side effects. The facility will house some of the world’s most advanced cancer treatment technology. The building contains more than 25 miles of electrical conduit, and 11 miles of mechanical and plumbing piping. The materials are embedded in more than 37,000 cubic-yards of concrete that is up to fifteen feet thick in places. Once completed in 2015, the facility is expected to treat approximately 1,900 patients annually.
"This is one of the most complex and technically advanced projects that most of us will ever have the pleasure of working on," said Jim Eaton, Vice President of Haskell's Healthcare Division. The quality and professionalism with which the planners, designers and construction trades have done their work to bring us to this important milestone in such a timely, efficient and safe manner is truly amazing."
"We are delighted that this project is moving forward so swiftly and are most grateful for the assistance of our partners in bringing the Maryland Proton Treatment Center to fruition," said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers distinguished professor and dean of the School of Medicine. "I have enjoyed watching this building grow from the time of our groundbreaking exactly nine months ago, and I am excited to mark the progress with today’s traditional topping out ceremony. My congratulations go to the entire construction, radiation oncology and proton therapy teams."
Minesh Mehta, MBChB, MD, who will be medical director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, thanked the construction crews for putting their all into this project. “Today represents a triumph of engineering and organizational skills that has brought us here to this stage of construction safely, thanks to all of you,” he told them.
The Maryland Proton Treatment Center will include five treatment rooms, one of which will provide a fixed beam and four of which will include a rotational gantry beam. Proton treatment is made possible by a Varian 250 MeV Superconducting Cyclotron. Varian’s 250 MeV Cyclotron is proven technology designed for high-efficiency, low-energy consumption, high reliability and modern treatment features such as pencil beam scanning, sometimes referred to as spot scanning, which enables beam intensity modulation. Intensity-modulated proton therapy makes it possible to shape the dose distribution very precisely in order to concentrate the doses on the targeted tumor while sparing normal, healthy tissues.
To learn more about the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, visit www.medschool.umaryland.edu.
Haskell, one of the industry’s leading integrated design, engineering and construction firms, offers client-focused solutions in the commercial, industrial and civil infrastructure markets. With more than $550 million in annual revenue and over 1,500 completed projects to date, Haskell serves a multinational client base from strategic points across the United States and in Mexico. For more information, visit haskell.com.
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Established in 1807, the University of Maryland School of Medicine is the first public and the fifth oldest medical school in the United States and the first to institute a residency training program. On the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine serves as the anchor for a large academic health center, which aims to provide the best medical education, conduct the most innovative biomedical research and provide the best patient care and community service to Maryland and beyond. The School of Medicine and its clinical partner, the University of Maryland Medical Center, educate and train over half of the state of Maryland’s medical professionals; continuing education programs serve more than 5,000 physicians and other health professionals annually.
About Advanced Particle Therapy LLC
Advanced Particle Therapy (APT) develops and manages leading edge proton therapy centers to deliver exceptional cancer treatment to patients. APT provides a fully integrated solution for development of proton treatment centers for leading academic medical institutions as well as premier regional healthcare systems. APT serves as the project’s developer and provides a turnkey solution to the highly complex task of successfully developing, designing, constructing, overseeing and managing a particle therapy treatment center. APT is developing centers for Scripps Health in San Diego, California, Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia, the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. For more information about Advanced Particle Therapy, visit www.advancedparticletherapy.com.