NEW YORKOn October 4, Sister Elizabeth Vermaelen, president of
the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of New York, welcomed
His Eminence John Cardinal OConnor, New York Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani, and more than 200 other guests to celebrate the grand
opening and dedication of The Saint Vincents Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The Center is New Yorks first outpatient cancer care program
open round-the-clock, 7 days a week, officials said in a news
release. The 75,000 square foot center is located in a landmark
building in New Yorks historic Chelsea neighborhood (see Figure
The Center represents an alliance between Saint Vincents Hospital and
Medical Center, sponsored by the Sisters of Charity, and Salick
Health Care, Inc, a leading managed care organization.
The highlight of the dedication ceremony was the blessing of the
Center by Cardinal OConnor, during which the front doors to the
Center were officially opened, symbolizing the opening of new
doors for cancer patients, Saint Vincents said in a press
release announcing the grand opening.
Special design features of the new facility include a covered
drop-off that allows patients to drive into the building in any kind
of weather, and two levels of below-grade parking. The main lobby
features a fabric-covered, inverted curved ceiling with indirect
lighting that makes the space feel tall and serene. It leads to a
central rotunda with a wood paneled ceiling. Beyond the rotunda and
continuing the inverted curved ceiling is the chemotherapy area.
Floors are covered in gray and green terrazzo or carpeting and vinyl
of a similar color. Walls are paneled in light maple or painted
off-white to accent the colors in the cherry wood furniture and the
rust, blue, or green upholstery and curtains. The light maple
paneling used in the lobby, rotunda, main waiting area, and
sub-waiting areas, cue patients on how to find their way through the
center. Adjacent offices and treatment areas follow a logical
clinical treatment sequence. Special areas such as surgery and
radiation therapy are the most removed and can be closed off at night.
The two linear acceleration vaults (see Figure
2) called for 4-foot thick floors composed of concrete, lead,
and boron, as well as walls and ceilings of concrete and lead. The
designers capitalized on the spaces former use as a loading
dock and poured the new floor on top of the already thick concrete floor.
Specialized programs housed at the center include the Comprehensive
Breast Center, Multiple Myeloma Center , Blood Stem Cell
Transplantation Program, Sarcoma Program, Brain Tumor Program,
Patient Resource Center, and Radiation Oncology Learning Center.