Research, cancer centers connect

The Moffitt Research Center and the Vincent A. Stabile Research Building, two units of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, will soon be connected by a bridge. The bridge, currently being designed by HOK Architects to span about 200 feet, will be indoor and air-conditioned.

The architects along with the construction manager, Batson-Cook Construction Company, presented initial design concepts for the $2.5-million project at an Oct. 9 meeting. The project will connect the first floor of the Stabile Research Building to the second floor of Moffitt Research Center, which is where the Eye Institute was previously housed. Elevators will be constructed at each end of the bridge to provide staff members with access to all floors of each building.

“We want to provide a conducive and convenient method to get between these two buildings,” said Dean Head, director of facilities.

Construction on the bridge tentatively begins March 1 and should be near completion five months later. Currently, staff must use the pedestrian walkway at Magnolia and Holly avenues or at Moffitt’s main entrance, Head said.

“It’s a little bit of a hike, especially in the rain,” Head said.

The SRB opened last month after receiving a $15-million donation from Vincent A. Stabile, a philanthropist and retired businessman, in June. It was the largest gift ever received by the Cancer Center in its 18-year history.

The SRB was erected to support research on innovative anti-cancer drugs and a successful cancer vaccine, as well as to expand genetic screening services that generate personal profiles on the risk of developing specific cancers.

Moffitt also intends to support the recruitment of internationally known investigative researchers with the SRB, which features three floors of research laboratories, an auditorium and education conference center for national and international meetings.

“Our goal was to build a building that was attractive to researchers and had a working environment of second-to-none facilities,” Head said.

When it comes to making moves to combat cancer, interaction among professionals is essential, Head said.

“The key piece of philosophy is collaboration,” Head said. “In order for people to confer, we try to make the buildings as friendly as possible.”