An artist’s rendering shows the proposed expansion to MaineGeneral Health’s Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta. Courtesy of MaineGeneral Health

AUGUSTA — MaineGeneral Health is proposing a $36 million expansion of the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care to help meet increasing demand at the specialized facility that is seeing more than twice as many patients a year as it was built to accommodate.

The project would add nearly 28,000 square feet in two additions to the existing 57,000 square feet of floor space. Another 18,000 square feet of existing space would be renovated under the project.

Officials said the expansion would allow the center at 361 Old Belgrade Road to increase its number of exam rooms to 27 from 15, and infusion bays, where chemotherapy treatments are administered, to 44 from 34.

Plans also call for adding space for education and survivorship programs for patients, expanding laboratory and pharmacy services, allowing for improvements in radiation oncology, genetics and research, and allowing for the return of services that had to be moved out of the building due to a lack of space.

The property is within the city’s Medical Hospital District, and the expansion is expected to be reviewed July 11 by the Augusta Planning Board as a major development proposal.

The proposal is also under review by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection because MaineGeneral Health is seeking an amendment to its existing permit. MaineGeneral submitted a certificate of need to the state in March, which is now under review.


The expansion, according to Chuck Hays, outgoing president and CEO of MaineGeneral Health, is necessary to meet the demand for oncology services that has skyrocketed since the center opened in 2007.

“In 2007, the year the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care opened, approximately 800 new cancer patients were being seen a year,” Hays said. “Now the (center) serves more than 2,000 new cancer patients a year. This number is 2 1/2 times the capacity the building was built to accommodate.”

MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta is seen in September 2007. Hospital officials are planning a $36 million expansion to the treatment facility. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

Hays said new cancer consults, during which patients are referred to the center for their first visit, increased by nearly 75% from 2018 to 2021.

In 2018, the facility saw 5,274 unique patients. That number is projected to increase to 9,468 in 2028, just five years from now.

The Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care was built in 2006 and 2007 on what was once farmland. In 2010, the larger MaineGeneral Medical Center’s regional hospital was built at the site, opening in 2013 between the cancer center and Interstate 95.

Hospital officials said demand for cancer treatment has increased for multiple reasons: With Maine’s aging population, there has been an increase in cancer incidences; cancer is being detected in patients earlier through advanced screening and imaging technologies; with advancements in treatment, people are living longer with cancer and requiring ongoing care; and the cancer center is seeing more rural patients through clinical partnerships with Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan and Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington.


People tour the outside of the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta during MaineGeneral’s annual cancer survivor day in 2009. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

In response to that increased demand, the cancer center has had to convert office space into exam rooms and storage areas into makeshift offices so staff members can stay in the building.

Center officials say they have also moved some services, such as physical and occupational therapies, to locations outside the cancer center, and changed the way patient education is provided.

Hays said officials do not expect the expanded space would result in many jobs being added at the cancer center.

“We do not anticipate a great need for additional employees,” he said. “The expansion is about efficient use and comfort of the space for patients, and enabling staff to work more collaboratively and efficiently in the building. It will allow us to bring services back into the building to make it easier for patients to navigate their care.”

The $36 million expansion would be funded by $6 million in MaineGeneral operating cash revenues, and $30 million from fundraising, of which $28 million has already been raised, according to Hays.

The public portion of the fundraising for the expansion is expected to get underway Oct. 7 as part of annual Day of Hope events at the Augusta Civic Center. Officials anticipate breaking ground on the project in October, with the expanded area opening in spring or summer of 2025 and project completion in fall or winter of the same year.

Hays said the expansion, which would also increase parking, is planned for two phases, allowing patient care to continue uninterrupted and minimizing the impact of construction on patients and staff members.

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