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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Holds “Topping Off” Ceremony for David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care

Event Signals Construction Milestone for Innovative Patient Care Facility, Expected to Open in 2019

On May 11, 2017, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) executives, including longtime board member David Koch, along with construction workers and physicians all gathered for a “topping off” ceremony to mark completion of the steel construction phase of the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care. The 750,000-square-foot, 23-story outpatient cancer center on East 74th Street and FDR Drive is made possible by a landmark gift of $150 million from Mr. Koch, the largest single gift in the history of the institution.
 
“It is my ardent hope that the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care, will transform cancer treatment substantially, with the utmost emphasis on the needs of patients and their families. I am very honored to contribute my support to this important work,” said Mr. Koch.
 
The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care is on schedule to open in 2019 and will see 1,300 patients daily and employ more than 1,600 people. When fully operational, it will enable MSK to expand access to outpatient surgery, innovative treatments such as immunotherapy, and early-stage clinical trials.
 
The “topping off” ceremony is a long-standing construction tradition, marked when the highest beam of steel is placed atop a structure during construction.
 
“It’s incredibly exciting to see this beautiful building take the next step in its transformation from vision to reality,” says Craig B. Thompson, MSK’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “With the full steel infrastructure now in place, it is clear that the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care will give vivid physical expression to the remarkable work that will go on inside its walls, from the latest cancer therapies to pioneering clinical trials. The impact of that work will be felt far beyond Memorial Sloan Kettering, offering a national model for providing first-rate outpatient cancer care.”
 
Distinctive features of the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care include:
 
  • Dedicated space for novel clinical trials not typically available at other area hospitals.
  • State-of-the-art facilities to accommodate the latest treatments for patients with hematologic cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma; head and neck cancers; and thoracic cancers; as well as radiation therapy, early-stage clinical trials, and several other programs. This will also include the transition to performing lifesaving bone marrow transplants on an outpatient basis and the increased use of interventional radiology, the minimally invasive, image-guided therapy that destroys cancer without the need for an incision. In many cases with interventional radiology, the risk for complications lessens and recovery time is reduced.
  • Innovative approaches to treatment that will lessen the need for patients to be hospitalized for extended periods of time, utilizing technology, design, and caretaker best practices to meet this goal.
  • Advanced equipment and state-of-the-art interiors, which will highlight comfort and control, from privacy to lighting and temperature. Flexible personal and community spaces, educational offerings, and opportunities for exercise and physical movement will further enhance the center as a national model for patient experience.
“Together with all our colleagues on the Board, I am deeply grateful to David Koch for recognizing what is so special about this project, and for his leadership in helping to move it forward,” says Douglas A. Warner III, Chairman of the Boards of Overseers and Managers. “Thanks to David’s generosity, Memorial Sloan Kettering is in a position to redefine the way cancer care is delivered in the 21st century. We are committed to ensuring that this facility will always be worthy of the distinguished friend whose name it bears.”
 
At MSK, Mr. Koch has served as a member of the Boards of Overseers and Managers since 1990 and has now made $225 million in gifts and pledges, including funds to establish the David H. Koch Center for the Immunologic Control of Cancer, to endow two David H. Koch Chairs, and to provide ongoing support for prostate cancer research.
 
With the building foundation and steel outline complete, the project team is now prepared to move forward by fully enclosing the facility and proceeding with interior construction. Given the building’s position near the East River, the design incorporates leading flood mitigation strategies, to ensure flood safety. All major utility systems have been located above grade level.
 
The architect for the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care is Perkins Eastman / Ennead; the construction firm is Turner Construction Company; and the environmental consultant is AKRF.
 
 
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About Memorial Sloan Kettering
We are the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, home to more than 15,000 physicians, scientists, nurses, and staff united by a relentless dedication to conquering cancer. As an independent institution, we combine 130 years of research and clinical leadership with the freedom to provide highly individualized, exceptional care to each patient. And our always-evolving educational programs continue to train new leaders in the field, here and around the world. For more information, go to www.mskcc.org.