Sharon Regional center expansion nearly done

By William K. Alcorn


Sharon Regional Health System’s $4.6 million expansion and renovation of its Cancer Care Center in Hermitage is in its final phase and is expected to be completed by the end of December.

In addition, Sharon Regional is scheduled to break ground early in 2011 for its new technology center at the LindenPointe Innovative Business Campus, 3400 Innovation Way in Hermitage. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

The technology center is expected to employ 15 upon opening and create an additional eight to 10 jobs over the ensuing five years, said Ed Newmeyer, Sharon Regional director of marketing and community relations.

The cancer-care-center project includes $2.3 million in equipment and $2.3 million in construction and renovation costs, he said.

The first phase of the project involved renovation of the building to accommodate a new Siemens ARTISTE linear accelerator that provides image-guided radiation. The center, at 2320 Highland Road, also will continue to use its current linear accelerator, which use intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

Image-guided radiation therapy uses a computer to create a picture of a tumor to help guide the radiation beam during radiation therapy, making the procedure more accurate and causing less damage to healthy tissue.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy is a type of 3-D radiation therapy that uses computer- generated images to show the size and shape of the tumor. Thin beams of radiation of various intensities are aimed at the tumor from many angles, according to the National Cancer Institute website.

The second phase of the cancer-care-center project is construction of a 4,000-square-foot addition to house patient changing areas, lounges, physician and staff offices, and other support services for the new linear accelerator; along with 1,600 square feet of additional renovations to the current radiation therapy area, officials said.

“Since our cancer-care center opened in 1994, we made the commitment to provide the highest-quality cancer-treatment services for our patients right here, close to home,” said Dr. George Garrow, director of medical oncology and hospice/palliative care at the center.

The center has comprehensive cancer-treatment services within one centralized location. Besides radiation oncology, services include hematology and medical oncology consultation and treatment, blood administration, intravenous infusions, on-site laboratory and social-service counseling, Dr. Garrow said.

The center also offers access to national cancer clinical trials along with a variety of wellness and educational programs, and its radiation-therapy program recently received a three-year accreditation by the American College of Radiology, hospital officials said.

The planned technology center will benefit from a $1 million grant awarded to Hermitage from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to be used for construction costs. The project has been approved by the Hermitage Planning Commission and is awaiting final approval from Hermitage city commissioners, Newmeyer said.

The 5,000-square-foot technology center will be built on Lot 19B adjacent to the Training & Workforce Development Center and the site of the future Technology Center of Excellence Incubator facility.

The facility will house all Sharon Regional’s information-technology components for its main campus in Sharon as well as its 19 satellite medical facilities throughout Mercer County and eastern Ohio.

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