Maryland Proton Treatment Center Celebrates Topping Out Ceremony
The Maryland Proton Treatment Center, a $200 million collaborative health care project at the University of Maryland BioPark that will offer the most advanced radiation technology in cancer treatment, celebrated its “topping out” with a ceremony on Jan. 17. Topping out is a major construction milestone, marking the last beam to be laid in the building.
The School of Medicine and its Department of Radiation Oncology, which will operate the proton treatment center, was joined in the festivities by the developer, San Diego-based Advanced Particle Therapy, as well as Haskell Architects and Engineers. The facility is scheduled to begin treating patients in 2015.
During the ceremony, a giant crane hoisted a 9-foot beam three stories above the street and rested it in place at the top of the building. Nearly 400 invited guests, including construction workers and leadership from all of the partner organizations, signed the white beam in a rainbow of colors before it was put in place.
Each color represented a different cancer—for example, gray for brain cancer, pink for breast cancer, orange for kidney cancer.
“Each color represents a unique patient—a father, mother, child, sister, brother, or friend, someone we care about who has suffered the ravages of cancer,” said Minesh Mehta, MBChB, FASTRO, professor at the School of Medicine and medical director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center. “With the raising of this beam, the expectations cancer patients have of us are raised as well.”
E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, dean and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine and the University of Maryland’s vice president for medical affairs, said he has enjoyed watching the building grow since the groundbreaking early last year.
“I am excited to mark the progress with today’s traditional topping out ceremony,” Reece said. “My congratulations go to the entire construction, radiation oncology, and proton therapy teams.”