After more than two years of development, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center was scheduled to open its new 210,000-square-foot treatment facility in The Woodlands on Oct. 14, after press time.

MD Anderson has been a fixture in The Woodlands for more than a decade, operating from two spaces at St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital’s campus occupying less than 50,000 square feet. The Houston-based cancer center is in the process of expanding its services throughout the region, with The Woodlands facility launch coming months after a similarly sized MD Anderson outpatient center opened in west Houston.

“As our city has continued to grow and medical services in The Woodlands have continued to expand, it’s been very clear to us here at MD Anderson that we need to be able to do what I call bringing the organization to the patients,” MD Anderson President Peter Pisters said. “Several years ago, we really recognized this need, and we took a series of steps that enabled us to get to the point that we’re at now where we’re opening regional campuses.”

MD Anderson The Woodlands is located on more than 13 acres of land at 100 Fellowship Drive off Hwy. 242. The new three-story care center first broke ground in June 2017 and topped out last spring. The facility features more than 60 exam rooms, an ambulatory treatment center with capacity for nearly 50 patients and an increased staff from its spaces at St. Luke’s.

“This is really a reflection of our commitment to the community of The Woodlands, and the desire that we have to really bring the full complement of services in our unique blend of team-based clinical care and some specialized oncology services to The Woodlands along with screening and diagnostic services,” Pisters said.

According to Pisters, MD Anderson The Woodlands will offer an array of specialized care, diagnostics and access to clinical trials granting patients access to personalized treatment options closer to home. MD Anderson also operates facilities in Sugar Land, League City, Memorial City, the Energy Corridor and its Texas Medical Center campus in Houston, each located more than 35 miles from The Woodlands center.

“It really is a standalone, comprehensive cancer center,” Pisters said. “The only thing it doesn’t have at this stage in our evolution of the campus are inpatient beds.”

In addition to the range of services and new technology available for patients, Pisters said MD Anderson The Woodlands was also designed to feel more welcoming than a traditional health care center. New features include a free surface-level parking lot, a food and beverage marketplace, a wellness center with group programming and open spaces.

“We’re just so thrilled and so proud of the environment,” Pisters said. “There’s so much light in the building. There’s a gigantic atrium. The views from the treatment areas are just spectacular. It’s really something to see.”

Pisters said the center also has room to grow in the future if needed. For now, he hopes The Woodlands facility’s atmosphere, array of care options and removed location from downtown can draw patients from areas across the Greater Houston area and up the I-45 corridor as far north as Dallas.

“We believe it’s going to really extend our reach and bring patients to access clinical trials and other important sub-specialized care,” Pisters said.

additional reporting by Vanessa Holt