MU curators approves funding for new Ellis Fischel building

Friday, May 21, 2010 | 5:59 p.m. CDT; updated 9:13 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 22, 2010
Artist renderings of the new Ellis Fischel building's North Terrace courtesy of MU Health Care.

Projected features of the new Ellis Fischel

The new Ellis Fischel Cancer Center plans to occupy two floors of a new patient tower at University Hospital. It will include space for:

  • Radiation oncology
  • Expanded radiology
  • Imaging capabilities
  • Chemotherapy treatment
  • Outpatient surgical procedure rooms
  • Recovery areas
  • 36 examination rooms
  • A pharmacy
  • The Margaret Proctor Mulligan Breast Center
  • Cancer screening services
  • A cancer rehabilitation and lymphedema center
  • Resource center and family support services

Source: University of Missouri Health Care

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COLUMBIA — Plans to build a new Ellis Fischel Cancer Center that will replace the 71-year-old facility on Business Loop 70 got new life Friday when the UM Board of Curators voted to float revenue bonds to help pay for the project.

The bond issue became necessary after the Missouri General Assembly again this year voted not to fund the project.

“By all accounts, it’s an inadequate facility in just about every way you look at it,” board member Bo Fraser said of the current Ellis Fischel. “The citizens of this state deserve an up-to-date cancer hospital.”

The curators met by teleconference Friday evening to vote on the bond issue. It won unanimous approval.

The plan now calls for $30 million in revenue bonds to be combined with $22 million to pay for the project, which was initially to be financed by proceeds from the sale of assets of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority.

Funding for the project did win the approval of the Missouri House on April 28 after what 24th District state Rep. Chris Kelly , D-Columbia, said in a Missourian opinion piece was “an amazing display of bipartisanship.” The Senate Appropriations Committee, however, voted 10-1 to strip project funding the very next day.

“The university is fulfilling its responsibilities where the state failed,” Kelly said.

The cost to renovate the current Ellis Fischel facility would be impractical when compared to the cost of adding the center to the new patient care tower already under construction at the University Hospital campus. Construction costs and historically low interest rates made now the time to act, Fraser said.

The care tower will be seven floors. Ellis Fischel will occupy the first two. The rest of the tower will house operating rooms, pre- and post-procedure private rooms and three floors of patient care units. A “healing garden” will be the center of the facility, and patients will be able to view the garden from every floor.

Patients of the new center will receive access to the latest therapy, rehabilitation and family support services.

Tower completion is expected in 2013.

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