Located in Great Bend, Kansas, the Central Kansas Medical Center's Heartland Cancer Center promotes a dynamic community presence in a serene, healing environment focused on the physical and psychological needs of patients and their families. Affiliated with Catholic Health Initiatives, the new 11,090-square-foot facility offers a comprehensive program of radiotherapy treatment and chemotherapy in a relaxed, comfortable setting.

The challenge in designing a cancer center is to alleviate patient anxiety, loneliness, and the overwhelming nature of cancer treatment by improving the traditional institutional experience of the environment. Treatment areas are organized around common interior and exterior spaces composed to reinforce evidenced-based design principles: natural light, views of nature, socialization, and family interaction. The lobby space creates a visual passage through the building and maintains a visual connection with nature. Both interior and exterior spaces provide a choice between privacy or social interaction.

Specific planning and design concepts were employed to emphasize supportive, life-affirming care, as well as promote socialization and family interaction. The Radiation Therapy Suite—comprised of a Linear Accelerator, a CT Simulator, and Radiation Imaging—is softened by natural light passing through examination rooms and patient accommodations. The Chemotherapy Suite—shared by two Oncology practices—is centered on the Infusion Area and the Healing Garden.

Material selections reflect the colors and textures of native sandstone and prairie grasses. The clarity of function and circulation enhances the patients', families', and staff's sense of well-being and comfort and strengthens the connection to nature.

Project category: New construction (completed October 2003)

Chief administrator: Chris Thomas, President and CEO, (620) 786-6101

Firm: Lantz-Boggio Architects, PC, (303) 773-0436

Design team: Jerry J. Jeter, AIA, Principal, Project Designer; David R. Gebel, AIA, Project Manager; Tara N. Jaramillo, RA, Project Architect; Kevin E. Karis, RA, Construction Administration

Photography: Steve Maylone

Total building area (sq. ft.): 11,090

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $210

Total construction cost (excluding land): $2,330,000