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After 85 million pounds of concrete and 70 tons of steel, the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI) construction is complete. HUPTI is 98,000 square feet, making it the world's largest free-standing proton therapy facility, located off Magruder Boulevard in Hampton.
Proton therapy is regarded as the most precise form of cancer treatment available as it targets the tumor only, with millimeter accuracy, while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue, unlike traditional radiation. There are minimal to no side effects and patients have been able to maintain their daily schedules during treatment.
"It gives me great joy to know that we are much closer to our dream of providing the latest in cancer care to our fellow Virginians and to the region as well," said HU President William R. Harvey, the visionary behind the project. "I have lived this dream for the past five years. To see the building completed, and to know the number of lives that will be saved as a result is an indescribable feeling.
"I am thankful to our entire team of partners and supporters who have devoted tremendous effort to helping us ease human misery and save lives."
Virginia continues to see growing numbers in need of cancer treatment. According to the Center for Disease Control, Hampton Roads leads the nation in prostate cancer deaths. Upon opening in 2010, HUPTI will treat more than 2,000 patients per year with prostate, breast, lung and pediatric cancers.
"The Proton Therapy Institute is one of the most important projects we have worked on," said Lou Haddad, president and CEO, Armada Hoffler, Inc. "I am proud of our construction team who labored diligently to keep the project ahead of schedule and within budget. We are grateful and fortunate to have once again partnered with Hampton University on such a momentous facility."
According to Armada Hoffler, an additional 2,000 jobs were created to complete the construction of HUPTI.
"HUPTI has been the quickest proton therapy project that we've been involved in to date," said Bernt Nordin, president, IBA Particle Therapy, Inc. "It is a well managed, exceptionally designed, very nicely-run project and we are impressed with the progress. The close collaboration between Hampton University, IBA, VOA and Armada Hoffler is making HUPTI the most impressive proton facility to date."
IBA is producing the massive equipment responsible for creating and delivering the proton beam to the patient. The 200-ton cyclotron spins subatomic particles to two-thirds of the speed of light, sending the resulting proton beam through a beam line to 90-ton gantries making the proton ready for patient treatment. The gantries and cyclotron are expected to arrive for installation soon. Headquartered in Belgium, IBA has equipped 13 of the 17 proton therapy facilities worldwide.
"Now that the design and construction of the building has been completed we feel that it achieves one of [VOA's] goals to make it patient friendly and provide an environment that is really conducive and beneficial of the proton experience, unlike any other proton center in the world," said Chris Knight, vice president of VOA, project architects.
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