Patients, donors, administrators, and local leaders joined as Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System broke ground on the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute today. Backed by a $20 million gift from Detroit businessman Mort Harris, in honor of his late wife Brigitte, the pavilion will serve as a center for ambulatory cancer treatment, precision medicine, clinical trials and research, and enhanced patient support services.
The largest individual gift in Henry Ford’s history, the donation is part of a $40 million package to support the building project and three specific program areas: precision medicine, brain cancer, and pancreatic cancer, which Brigitte battled for nearly two years before her passing in 2016.
“This is my life’s work now – to partner with the people from Henry Ford to find a cure for pancreatic cancer,” said Mort Harris. “I watched my wife suffer for 21 months with this disease and no one else should have to endure that.”
The six-story, 187,000 square foot Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion was designed by SmithGroupJJR, and includes a contemporary architectural style and a shaded third-floor terrace to provide a comfortable and calming experience for patients and families.
“This is a crucial step in advancing our cancer care program and we’re delighted to break ground,” says Wright Lassiter, III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System. “This project extends far beyond brick and mortar. Henry Ford is revolutionizing the whole approach to cancer care and making it accessible to patients, no matter where they live.”
The pavilion is part of a 300-acre expansion and neighborhood redevelopment initiative that will include retail, housing, and other mixed uses. The project is expected to create 300 construction jobs and more than 70 permanent jobs at the facility.
The campus will have ample parking for patients and families and will also feature special gathering places for patient and caregiver support groups, yoga classes, music, and art therapy. Turner Construction, also based in Detroit, is managing the project. It’s projected to cost an estimated $155 million.