New cancer hospital breaks ground at Newnan’s Ashley Park

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It was a groundbreaking like no other. More than 500 people made their way to the Ashley Park retail area in Newnan Aug. 3 for the long-awaited groundbreaking of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital. Expected to open in September 2012, the Newnan facility is the company’s first hospital in the Southeast United States.

The mass of business people, community members and elected officials at the groundbreaking heard from corporate representatives, a large group of cancer patients and survivors. They also attended town hall meetings centered around the facility’s clinical aspects, patient experience and economic and community partnerships. The groundbreaking came at the end of the three-hour ceremony.

Among those at the ceremony were Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) and a host of elected officials from Newnan and around Coweta County.

Once open in September 2012, the hospital will feature 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.

CTCA Public Relations Manager Kristin Schaner previously said that the hospital will total 212,000 square feet, adding that the all-digital Newnan facility will offer new a choice in cancer treatment for patients in metro Atlanta and across the Southeast. CTCA specializes in advanced-stage and complex cancer, Shaner said.

In terms of economic impact to the area, CTCA Newnan over the first five years of operation is expected to bring 500 new jobs and generate $500 million in economic activity in the local economy.

Sen. Williams noted the relevance of the groundbreaking and CTCA’s arrival in the state.

“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. Not only are we bringing hundreds of new jobs to Georgia, we are now able to offer these patients the attention and care they deserve, which is a paramount goal for our state,” Williams said. “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.”

As with its other facilities around the country, CTCA is expected to draw a large number of its patients from far beyond the traditional geographic areas served by traditional hospitals providing cancer treatment.

“With more than two-thirds of its patients expected to come from outside the state of Georgia, patients and their families will contribute to the growth and vitality of the local economy,” Schaner said recently. “CTCA expects the new facility to generate 500 news jobs and $500 million in economic activity over the first five years of operation.”

One of those attending the ceremony exemplified the willingness of cancer patients to travel significant distances to receive treatment.

“This will be a blessing for patients like me who travel across the country to get top-notch care,” said Tanya Gruce, a breast cancer patient from Seminole, Fla. Gruce, diagnosed in 2007 at just 31 years of age, receives treatment at CTCA in Philadelphia. “When you are fighting for your life, you want state-of-the-art treatment closer to home. CTCA’s patient-centered approach is so much different than anywhere else. They give patients the information we need to make treatment decisions. They bring hope.”

Even though the event marked the official groundbreaking, construction had already begun just a short distance away, with crews busy working on the facility’s infrastructure.

The local economic activity was not overlooked Coweta County Development Authority (CCDA). The organization worked with CTCA throughout the company’s selection process that had considered a number of other sites around the metro Atlanta area before deciding on Newnan. CCDA on July 28 authorized industrial revenue bonds to provide CTCA with the ability to obtain competitive interest rates for the facility’s construction.

The first CTCA facility opened in 1988. Today CTCA has hospitals in Tulsa, Philadelphia and Goodyear, Ariz. The Newnan facility will serve as the CTCA hub for the Southeastern U.S.

CTCA has experienced 20 percent annual growth since 2005 and treated 4,500 new patients in Fiscal Year 2010, company officials said.