Topping off ceremony recognizes major milestone in construction of Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center

(August 21, 2015) - A "topping off" ceremony was recently held at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center to mark the completion of the structural framework for all floors of the 10-story research tower and the 8-story patient care areas in the $323 million facility.

The 615,000-square-foot building is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2017. It is one of the largest projects ever for the State of Nebraska and the largest for the University of Nebraska. It is estimated that the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center will provide 1,200 jobs at the medical center and 4,657 new jobs to the metro area. It will infuse $537 million annually into the economy. HDR is providing professional services including architecture, engineering, programming, concept development, graphic design and healthcare consulting. Kiewit is the construction manager/general contractor. 

Nine different beams were raised during the ceremony. Over the past six months, the beams traveled more than 2,000 miles around the state with people signing the beams at such events as the Cattlemen's Ball, the Ambassador of Hope Gala, and the Nebraska Science Festival.

"This is a great moment for our campus, the state of Nebraska and the city of Omaha," said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., Gold. "We truly appreciate the tremendous support of the citizens of Nebraska for this incredible project. The beams signed by thousands of people around the state will continuously represent an opportunity for us to pay homage to all our supporters."

The project is being funded through a combination of public and private funds. The Nebraska Legislature pledged $50 million for the research tower based on the University of Nebraska Foundation raising a similar amount. In addition, the City of Omaha pledged $35 million for the cancer center over five years, and Douglas County pledged $5 million over five years."Cancer touches so many lives and we take great pride here in helping see countless families through this devastating diagnosis," said Rosanna Morris, interim CEO at Nebraska Medicine."When you see the skyline changing and you understand the profound impact our vision is going to make, we can't help but want to get together and celebrate how far we've come in the project knowing it will excel in finding cures for our cancer patients."

Speakers at the event included Dr. Gold, Morris, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, and Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. The event was attended by donors, legislators, state, city and county officials as well as hundreds of UNMC/Nebraska Medicine employees. "This new building will bring researchers and clinicians closer than they have ever been and will lead to new discoveries in our approach to precision medicine in cancer care," Dr. Cowan said. "We will have the best cancer center facility in the world, here in Omaha, in 2017."