74 Million Dollar Upstate Cancer Center is a Reality; Center to Open August 25th

Jul 18, 2014

A dream that’s been in the making for a very long time came true for Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse today.  The hospital held the official ribbon cutting of the 74 Million Dollar Upstate Cancer Center to provide expanded care and treatment in a welcoming, state of the art building.


The exterior of the new Upstate Cancer Center on East Adams Street in Syracuse.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

The inside entrance of the Cancer looking up
Credit John Smith/WAER News


The full glass exterior allows natural sunlight to beam into the main entrance.  There’s artwork and colorful paintings from 31 local artists on walls and full wall coverings of outdoor photos in hallways and patient exam rooms.  Upstate Medical Chief Operating Officer, Paul Seale explains the visual therapeutic approach is called “healing through nature.”

“To make the environment that the practitioners and providers in, a more settling and resting environment as best you can, in a Cancer Center.”

Clouds on the ceiling of the Children's floor.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

The children’s floor is decorated with puffy white clouds swished on a blue sky ceiling. Associate Administrator, Richard Kilburg brings our attention to the floor.

“This is a waiting room… starts with a blue river flowing into a lake in the infusion area.”

Dr. Leslie Kohman-  “They’ll be toys and playroom and, of course, the view of the (green outdoor rooftop healing) garden that you’ll get. This will be where the adolescents can go and they picked out this cityscape of Times Square is what they wanted in their room.”

That’s Cancer Center Director, Doctor Leslie Kohman. She explains how the expanded arsenal of cancer-fighting technology will increase the chances of successful operations.

“The radiation, in particular, is going to allow additional precision. It lets people be treated, for instance, with a tumor very close to the spinal cord that in the past it would be too dangerous because of injury to the spinal cord, now the beam can be adjusted so finely as to get the whole tumor and none of the spinal cord.”

Kohman adds that the facility brings all of the services and doctors under one roof. For example, that will allow doctors of patients with lung or breast cancer to meet and establish a care plan.

Upstate Cancer Center Director, Dr. Leslie Kohman
Credit John Smith/WAER News

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says the new Cancer Center brings several threads together.

"First of all this is an immense focus on a diseases that matters to all of us.  It brings together offices, institutes and projects that have been distributed in basements and cubby holes all over Upstate; that’s very important to us. It gives us a facility to do the core work of educating the future healthcare professionals.”

A patient exam room brings these hot air balloons up close.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

Zimpher adds the new Cancer Center also raises the aspirations of SUNY’s other medical colleges in Buffalo, Albany and New York City.  The Upstate Cancer Center has a four season healing garden with more than 80 plant species on a green roof top.  The full building cost 100-(M) million dollars and created more than 500 construction jobs. Upstate is in the process of pursuing LEED certification. The Cancer Center opens for patient care on August 25th. Public tours are Saturday, July 19th from 9 AM to 1 PM. The entrance is located across from the main hospital entrance on East Adams Street in Syracuse.