UAMS Celebrates ‘Topping Out’ Of Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Expansion

By Kevin Rowe

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) today marked the high point for construction of a 12-floor, 300,000-square-foot expansion of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute with a traditional “topping out” ceremony.


A white steel beam signed by UAMS employees, volunteers and supporters was raised into place to mark the highest point of construction on the building, which is located adjacent to the Cancer Institute’s Pat and Willard Walker Tower. The expansion is scheduled for completion in 2010.


“The Cancer Institute is in the midst of the most exciting time of growth in its history. This expansion ultimately will double our capacity to treat patients and to conduct research that will someday lead to new, life-saving treatments,” said Peter Emanuel, M.D., Cancer Institute director.


In April 2007, Gov. Mike Beebe signed a bill allowing the state to provide up to $46 million in matching funds to build the expansion to the Cancer Institute. Gifts to the building or endowment given between January 1, 2007, and June 30, 2009, qualify for the matching funds. To date, $31 million of the $46 million has been raised toward the match.


“Our patients will benefit tremendously by having all of UAMS’ cancer programs under one roof,” said UAMS Chancellor I Dodd Wilson, M.D. “This new building is designed so that doctors, nurses, scientists and other members of the health care team can easily collaborate and communicate about treatment options for each patient. I applaud the Cancer Institute’s leadership for their foresight in designing this expansion with patient needs and collaborative research in mind.” 


Since opening its doors in 1989, the Cancer Institute, Arkansas’ only academic cancer center, has grown to include 15 specialty and seven support clinics. In fiscal year 2007, there were 120,000 patient visits, compared to 75,000 in 2000. Patient volume has already surpassed predictions made in 2005, in part because of new patients, but also because of new life-prolonging treatments.


CDI Contractors, Inc. is the general contractor for the expansion. Cromwell Architects Engineers of Little Rock and FKP Architects of Houston are the architecture/engineering firms for the project.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,538 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,600 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. Visit