The cancer research building at Georgia Regents University is getting a larger footprint and a new name.
The 170,000-square-foot facility on the corner of Laney Walker and R.A. Dent boulevards will expand upward and outward, gaining 72,000 square feet of new space and 6,000 square feet of renovations to become the GRU Cancer Center M. Bert Storey Research Building, in recognition of the Augusta philanthropist and longtime university supporter.
“This $62.5 million project will be a significant expansion for the GRU Cancer Center that will physically connect our clinical and research missions as we continue the momentum toward National Cancer Institute designation,” said GRU President Brooks Keel. “We couldn’t make this happen without the generosity of supporters like M. Bert Storey, who understand the impact that our discoveries make in the fight against cancer.”
The state of Georgia is providing $50 million in bond funding and the university is securing the remaining funds that will finance two main components: a five-story expansion to the existing research building and an elevated connector that stretches across Laney-Walker Boulevard linking the research building to GRU Cancer Center Outpatient Services. The naming was approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents on Aug. 12.
“Philanthropy is a fundamental trait of a healthy university, and we are very pleased to be a part of it,” said Regent James M. “Jim” Hull. “You couldn’t ask for a more philanthropic man to be the namesake for the cancer research building than M. Bert Storey,” said Hull, a longtime friend and business partner.
The Greater Augusta Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized Storey and his son Barry in 2010 with the Outstanding Philanthropist Award. Storey was instrumental in fundraising for the Kroc Center in Augusta and serves as a GRU fundraising campaign cabinet member.
“It is my honor to lend my name to such a worthy endeavor. Cancer research truly touches all our lives, and I encourage others to join me in supporting this vital effort,” said Storey, the president and owner of Bert Storey Associates, LLC, a commercial real estate development company, and Chair of the Storey Foundation.
“The entire GRU Cancer Center family is profoundly grateful for the generosity and goodwill the Storey family has shown us. This gift – the partnership – greatly contributes to the wellbeing of our patients and the continued growth and evolution of the Cancer Center, our research, clinical trials and patient care,” said Dr. Samir N. Khleif, Cancer Center Director. “It is an incredibly important and exciting moment for our Cancer Center family, and one we are overjoyed to be able to share with this community.”
Building renovations are expected to improve the Cancer Center’s ability to host community events focusing on prevention, awareness and education. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2018.
An estimated 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed and about 590,000 cancer deaths will occur this year, according to the American Cancer Society.
The GRU Cancer Center is a multidisciplinary academic cancer center whose mission is to reduce the burden of cancer in Georgia and across the globe through superior care, innovation and education. Its patient-centered approach includes first-in-the-nation treatment protocols, an experimental therapeutics program and specialized clinics for Phase I trials and immunotherapy.