New Research Center Opens at Huntsman Cancer Institute
With more than 14 million people living with cancer in the United States, a genetic research center newly nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountains offers something vitally important: Hope.
“There is one person lost to cancer every minute of every day,” said Dr. Mary Beckerle, Executive Director of Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). “And research is the hope for the future.”
Beckerle joined HCI colleagues, cancer survivors, civic leaders, dignitaries and many from the building team of Jacobsen Construction Company (JCC) to celebrate the grand opening of the Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center—a 225,000-square-foot new HCI research facility.
“Our job is to eradicate cancer from the face of the Earth,” said Jon Huntsman, Sr. “Eradicate it forever. Not to play around with it; not to play politics with it; not to play egos with it, but eradicate it, to eliminate it at all costs.”
Huntsman, who is a four-time cancer survivor, said the new $173 million research center helps fulfill a 25-year dream tied to the cancer fight. The new facility, which bears his name, boasts more than a linear mile of state-of-the-art research space. It also features:
• A biotechnology center with advanced genetic sequencing and imaging equipment
• 120-seat auditorium
• 30,000 square feet of adjoining space
• Public meeting spaces on every floor
With a unique focus on fighting childhood and genetic cancers, the research center includes exceptional resources and technologies linked to genetic counseling and bioinformatics analysis. HCI has partnered with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and The State of Utah, capitalizing on the organizations’ population and genealogy services to help patients understand their family health histories and detect cancer earlier.
“Building this research center has been more than just a job for so many of us. It’s been a calling,” said Greg Fix, a JCC vice-president, and project executive. “It’s rare that we can directly tie our work to life-changing outcomes, so this assignment has been a humbling experience.”
With striking frequency, nearly everyone working on the JCC project team has been touched by cancer in one way or another. Many have stories that uniquely illustrate why Jacobsen’s role in the construction of the new research center meant so much to them, personally.
“I could not be more pleased that our company has had a role in bringing the Huntsman Cancer Institute to the world,” said Jacobsen’s Chief Operating Officer, John Fortuna. “Like so many, my life has been personally touched by the fear that cancer would rob me of a loved one. Constructing this center has meant being privileged to be a part of building new hope for everyone–it’s been a highlight of my career.”
There is widespread hope among Jacobsen employees that the new cancer research center is a game changer in finding cures for all cancers. “I’ve never had cancer, but it’s taken a lot from me,” said Tamara Davies, a proposal specialist on Jacobsen’s Marketing team. “I’ve lost too many relatives and friends to this disease. It has robbed me of too many birthdays, holidays, and moments with the people that I love. I hope that what happens inside this building can change that.”
Hope. It’s something that Jacobsen Construction is thrilled to help build, and something precious and personal to the employees who worked on this project.