$145.7 million UT Health RGV cancer center coming to McAllen

A $145.7 million cancer and surgery center could break ground at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s McAllen Academic Medical Campus as soon as next month.

The three-story, 144,231 square-foot UT Health RGV Cancer and Surgery Center will include a radiation oncology clinic, a medical oncology clinic, a diagnostic imaging suite, rehabilitation therapy, an ambulatory surgery center and an orthopedics center. It’ll be on Pecan, between McColl and Jackson.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey says he hopes to see construction begin on the center in September, and though there’s no firm completion date for the project, he expects it to be done in about two-and-a-half years.

“It’s important to start this, and the reason you have to move quick: people aren’t gonna delay getting cancer until we finish that center, and so the faster we finish it, the more quickly we can provide services to people,” he said.

Rendering of UT Health RGV Cancer and Surgery Center. (Courtesy: UTRGV)

Those services, the university says, will be revolutionary for local residents and the university’s medical students, in part because the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is providing oncology advisory services to the program while it gets off the ground.

Bailey said the center will bring cutting-edge cancer treatment to the Valley’s doorstep.

“It’s gonna offer services that you have to go a long way to get now. And we’ll be building that, continuing to expand that over time to make sure that we have a significant impact on the health and well-being of the Valley,” he said.

The UT System Board of Regents approved the $145.7 million in funding for the center earlier this month. The money comes mostly from the organization’s permanent university fund and tuition revenue bond proceeds, along with other funding and gifts, including a $1 million donation from the city of McAllen.

“I would like to congratulate UTRGV President Dr. Bailey for his leadership in helping to make a cancer research center in the Rio Grande Valley a reality,” Mayor Javier Villalobos wrote in a release.  “This research institute will have a tremendous and positive impact on the health and well-being of the entire region, opening up our community to not only having medical students trained here in a medically underserved area, but also, allowing our residents the opportunity to be a part of cancer medical research, helping to treat many of the illnesses that plague this region.  The City of McAllen is proud to make this donation for development of this cancer research center.”

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, the lead author of the senate bill that created UTRGV and its school of medicine, described the cancer center as a significant step for the university and for the region. 

“Approving the allocation of the funds necessary for this Center advances the goal of expanding access to educational opportunities and medical education which will increase access to care for our Valley families and help decrease our physician shortage in the region,” he wrote in a release.