Corewell Health Ludington Hospital breaks ground on new Cancer & Hematology Center

December 2, 2022

Corewell Health Ludington Hospital breaks ground on new Cancer & Hematology Center

LUDINGTON — Riverton Township Fire Chief Joe Cooper donned his hard hat and shovel alongside a group of Corewell Health executives and construction and architectural firm principals to help “break ground” and thank donors for the local hospital’s new Cancer & Hematology Center at its groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon at Corewell Health Ludington Hospital (formerly Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital). Cooper was not participating in his role as fire chief but in his role as cancer patient and survivor.

“Some of you here today may know my story,” Cooper told the gathering. “Some of you may not. About five years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a cancer of the plasma cells in my bone marrow. From personal experience I can tell you, no one is ever prepared to hear the words, ‘you have cancer’.  My family’s world and life as we knew it was forever changed by those three words.”

Drawing of planned healing garden.

The $4.9 million Cancer & Hematology Center will be built in the former emergency department space on the north side of the hospital. It will add an additional 1,400 square feet to what is currently available at the hospital, and will include a new healing garden, more spacious infusion bays where patients receive their chemotherapy and other treatments, a new salon for hair styling, makeup assistance, wigs and head scarves. The new center will also include a patient massage and acupuncture area, a place for private consults with the medical care team, a resource library and wellness lounge.”

“We’re relocating and rebuilding our Cancer & Hematology Center for patients just like Joe,” said Jason Ross, chief operating officer of Corewell Health Ludington Hospital. “He’s a busy guy and doesn’t have time to travel out of town for his treatment and all the services that go along with a cancer diagnosis. The good thing is, he hasn’t had to. Because we’re part of the Corewell Health system, the same treatment protocols are available at all our locations. And with this new center, we’ll have all the amenities as well.”

According to Scott Smith, chair of the Corewell Health Foundation Ludington Hospital board, a good deal of funding for the project has come through area donors. “As we began talking with hospital leadership some time ago about what cancer services could look like in this community, the Foundation Board got very excited because we knew there are people here locally who would stand up and support these life-saving services,” Smith stated.

“And they have,” he told the gathering. “Tonight, I have the privilege and honor to share that over $1.6 million dollars of this project is being provided through the philanthropic support of people who live and work in this community, and who want to make a difference in the lives of future generations here.”

The new 5,100 square feet Cancer & Hematology Center will be located near the outpatient surgery entrance off Lawndale Street, with patient parking that is close to the building and within steps of the entrance.

At the same time the Cancer & Hematology Center is being built, the first phases of reconstruction will begin on the inpatient areas of the hospital. New private rooms with restrooms and showers will be built on the medical, surgical and critical care units. The work on the second-floor inpatient space will be phased to allow for the care and treatment of current patients.

The new Cancer & Hematology Center is scheduled to open fall 2023, and the inpatient areas will be completed in fall 2024. The Cancer Center serves adult patients for a wide variety of cancer and blood disorder needs; Corewell Health Ludington Hospital support services include surgical services, laboratory, pharmacy, radiology, nutrition services and Lifestyle Medicine. Radiation therapy is available through Corewell Health both in Reed City and Grand Rapids.

“Thank you so much for caring about our community and people who are fighting cancer,” Cooper summarized. “Thank you for letting me share my story and the impact the Cancer Center has had on my life and the life of my family.”

Drawing of planned infusion bays.

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