UK HealthCare

Site preparation to begin on new UK Cancer and Advanced Ambulatory Building

The cancer and ambulatory center and a new parking garage are both set for completion in 2027.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 22, 2024) — The University of Kentucky will soon begin a major construction project to build an eight-story, 550,000-square-foot cancer and advanced ambulatory facility that will also call for the reconfiguration of Elizabeth Street, a street that parallels South Limestone in that area.

Site preparation will begin in March for the building and a new parking garage that will be located south of Shriners Children's Lexington. The overall plan includes a complete replacement of Elizabeth Street to ultimately provide a major thoroughfare to better serve and improve traffic flow to and from the existing UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital Parking Garage (currently under expansion), the upcoming advanced cancer and ambulatory building, and a new adjacent 2,400-space parking structure. The cancer and ambulatory center and parking garage are both set for completion in 2027.

Before construction can begin on the new facility, major roadwork and utility work will have to be completed. This includes the reconfiguration of Elizabeth Street. When completed, it will provide a continuous roadway with four lanes plus a turning lane from Waller Avenue to Transcript Avenue, then two lanes from Transcript Avenue to Virginia Avenue.

The project also includes revisions to all intersecting streets including University Avenue, State Street, Conn Terrace and Transcript Avenue; it also includes the relocation of overhead utility lines to underground lines and the construction of an underground duct bank.

As part of the road and utility construction phase expected to be completed in September 2025:

  • Elizabeth Street will close to thru traffic beginning April 2024.
  • State Street and University Avenue will close from Elizabeth Street to South Limestone beginning in April 2024 with a portion of State Street remaining open to accommodate Shriners Hospital.
  • The site will be fenced in April, prohibiting pedestrian traffic.

The new facility will have all cancer programs and ancillary services in the same building, providing convenience for patients but also promoting unique synergies and collaborations for Markey clinicians and researchers.

In September 2023, the UK Markey Cancer Center received National Cancer Institute “Comprehensive” Cancer Center designation, the highest level of recognition awarded by the NCI. Markey is the first and only center in Kentucky to achieve this designation, and the next-closest Comprehensive Cancer Center is nearly 200 miles from Lexington. Currently in the U.S., there are only 72 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers and 56 of those are Comprehensive Cancer Centers. 

“At Markey, we’re caring for more patients than ever. As Kentucky’s only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, it’s our mission to provide the best possibly cancer treatment for every Kentuckian who needs it,” said B. Mark Evers, M.D., director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. “In a state that still holds the highest overall incidence and death rates for cancer, it’s imperative that we expand our physical footprint to keep up with the growing demand for our services. This state-of-the-art new facility will help us gain ground on our goal to conquer cancer in the Commonwealth.”

In addition to comprehensive cancer services, the new building will also include a comprehensive spine care center with a transdisciplinary approach dedicated to offering a wide range of services designed to diagnose, treat and prevent spinal conditions.

This will include experts working together to provide best option for patients from four key departments working together – Orthopaedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery and Anesthesiology.

“Back pain is an issue for tens of millions of Americans, and it can seriously affect a person’s quality of life,” said Christopher DeSimone, acting executive chief medical officer for UK HealthCare. “Bringing together these disciplines under one roof will allow a patient to be evaluated and then receive input from each area, without the need to travel to multiple appointments in different locations. But it’s not just about convenience – it’s about a team of experts coming together to determine what’s best for each individual patient.”

Additionally, the new facility will have a floor dedicated to ambulatory surgery and procedural space. This area will include eight operating rooms (ORs) capable of accommodating endoscopic procedures as well as intake, recovery bays, central sterile and endoscopic processing units.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the new UK Cancer and Advanced Ambulatory Building is set for 10 a.m. Thursday, April 25.

UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.