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Published on November 18, 2009

Preparations Start for Addition to Cancer Center

November 18, 2009 - By Dana Herra, Daily Chronicle

DeKALB – The huge amount of dirt being moved on the Kishwaukee Community Hospital health campus is the first step in preparing for a 21,000-square-foot addition to the Illinois Regional Cancer Center to be built next year.

KishHealth Systems Vice President of Business Development Joe Dant said Wednesday that the health system wanted to get site work and footings done before winter sets in so construction can begin in earnest in the spring.

The current cancer center is 5,500 square feet and does not include cancer services like chemotherapy or diagnostic testing. It was less expensive to build onto that building than move the radiation service provided there to another part of the campus, assistant vice president of marketing and planning Michael Kokott said last month, because of the requirements of the radiation chamber, like thick concrete walls.

Much of the dirt being moved at the site is being piled up near the back of the old Kishwaukee Hospital. Kish plans to demolish that building next summer, Dant said, and calculated it could save several hundred thousand dollars by keeping the dirt from the cancer center construction on site and using it to fill the hole the building will leave.

"Rather than incurring the costs of having to haul that dirt off site, then bring fill in after we bring down KCH 1 to fill the hole, keeping it on site until we need it was actually more cost effective," he said.

The cancer center expansion is expected to cost about $14 million, Kokott said, paid for through a combination of grants and financing by local banks. Because of the project's cost, the health system will have to get the project approved by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board before actual construction begins, Dant said. Because no new services are proposed with the project, the board is expected to approve it early next spring.

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