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Residents support Cancer Pavilion at Marlborough Hospital

July 19, 2011 – Residents at a City Council public hearing last night gave support for a proposed $11.7 million expansion at Marlborough Hospital that hospital officials say will improve the facility’s ability to treat cancer patients.

Residents said they have a few minor concerns about drainage and whether certain utility buildings would be close to a home on Belleview Avenue, but no one at the hearing spoke against the plan, which requires a special permit.

The proposed 14,500-square-foot addition, called the Cancer Pavilion, would be on the north side of the building and would bring new services such as radiation therapy to the hospital, which is affiliated with the UMass Memorial Health Care system.

Many residents at last night’s hearing, who had either gone through cancer treatments themselves or have had loved ones deal with treatment, welcomed having cancer care close to home.

Ash Street resident James Rennie said he had chemotherapy in Marlborough but needed to travel to Worcester for radiation treatment. He said having an option closer to home would help countless patients who are stuck at almost the halfway point between available treatments in Boston and Worcester.

“The impact it will have on our community and all those who suffer from cancer will be incredible,” he said.

Doug Brown, senior vice president and general counsel for the UMass Memorial Health Care system as well as interim CEO and president of the Marlborough Hospital, said the plans would allow the hospital to continue to improve services.

He said patient needs guided how plans for the cancer pavilion were crafted, and the team that designed the addition included a cancer patient, who gave valuable advice.

Attorney Arthur Bergeron, a member of the hospital’s board of trustees, said the center was designed to be aesthetically therapeutic: Chemotherapy chairs will be positioned so patients can gaze out at a garden, and the radiation room was designed with a level of “softness,” he said.

“We try to make the experience in which they are going through all that as positive as possible,” he said.

Hospital officials are hoping UMass Memorial leaders will vote to fund the project in the next few months and that the project will get its permits by the end of the year, Bergeron said. The hospital would likely need to raise $1.1 million to $1.5 million, he said.

The project would include re-crowning the driveway that leads to Hudson Street to fix occasional drainage problems, he said. The plan also calls for 14 more parking spots.

Belleview Avenue resident Rick Dimatteo said he was concerned that a loading dock included in the plans is too close to his backyard. He asked about providing some screening, which hospital officials said they would look into.

The Urban Affairs Committee will consider the project at a meeting at 7 p.m. next Monday.

Thia story originally appeared here