Local officials break ground for Christie clinic

From left, Christie Clinic Radiation Oncologist Dr. Gary Shultz, Christie Clinic Chief Executive Officer Alan Gleghorn and Mayor Gerald Schweighart help break ground on Christie Clinic´s new cancer treatment center. The facility will be located at Regina Martinez

From left, Christie Clinic Radiation Oncologist Dr. Gary Shultz, Christie Clinic Chief Executive Officer Alan Gleghorn and Mayor Gerald Schweighart help break ground on Christie Clinic´s new cancer treatment center. The facility will be located at Regina Martinez

By Stephanie Taylor

Three golden shovels broke ground in downtown Champaign for the Christie Clinic’s new Cancer Center Wednesday afternoon.

Local residents gathered to hear Champaign Mayor Gerald Schweighart, John Rollins, board chair of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and Alan Gleghorn, chief executive officer at the Christie Clinic speak about Champaign’s latest medical investment.

The Christie Clinic has been serving the Champaign area for more than 75 years. It is one of the largest physician-owned, multi-specialty medical group practices in the state.

Christie’s new Cancer Center is being built to help provide the Champaign community with easy access to more cancer resources and research. The Center will be located in the northwest parking lot of the facility, which is located at the corner of University Avenue and Randolph Street.

Once the new facility opens, “Christie Clinic’s medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons will be located on the same campus,” according to the press release.

“Having the Christie Clinic and the Cancer center on one campus coordinates the care of the patients,” Gleghorn said.

The patients can park in the same parking lot and easily access the resources Christie provides. The doctors and medicine they need are nearby at the clinic and the cancer treatment is within reach, he said.

Gleghorn also said that the close location of the center would be beneficial for Christie employees. Clinical research can be done more actively and easier between the two facilities.

He said he believes that the new center will help “bring modern technology here to the community.”

Rollins expressed his excitement for the center’s technological tools, including a “cutting edge radiation center.” Cancer screenings, clinical trials and cancer education will also be provided, according to the press release.

Rollins also believed that the new center would provide “an economic boost for businesses” in the downtown area.

Mayor Schweighart elaborated on the center’s positive effect on the downtown economy. At the ceremony, he said the new center would provide “quality jobs and quality pay” and that the city would cooperate and help the project as much as possible.

Schweighart expressed his appreciation for the Christie Clinic’s role in the downtown area.

“It’s a major employer that brings people downtown as patients and workers,” he said.

The clinic increases the economy in the community overall by drawing people to restaurants and other businesses, he said.

Financing for the center is provided by the Christie Clinic, Chase and Central Illinois Banks and taxes paid in the downtown area.

The new center will be up and running by March 2006.