The University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) has had a proton therapy facility built in which patients with cancer from throughout the Netherlands are offered a new type of radiation treatment. The treatment centre is part of the UMC Groningen Cancer Centre, where oncology patients, both children and adults, can access all the available treatments in one place. Visser & Smit Bouw received a Design & Construct contract for the design and execution and carried out the work as part of a construction team. The installations were realised by subcontractors HOMIJ Technische Installaties in collaboration with Kropman Installatietechniek.
The centre is located on the grounds of the UMCG and consists of a clinic and two treatment rooms with an approximate area of 5,000m2, spread over two floors. Since this centre is separate from the existing hospital, it is a fully independently operating treatment centre.
As the building is designed to be earthquake resistant; the construction has been reinforced and mass concrete walls and pre-stressed slab floors have been used, sometimes up to 4 metres thick. Nearly 10,000m3 of concrete has been used to construct the treatment building. That is 60% of the external volume of the building. The floors and walls of the treatment building are designed to shield the other areas from radiation (both inside and outside the building). It is precisely because radiation always travels in a straight line, that there is no straight corridor to be found in the treatment centre.
The facades consist of prefabricated timber frame walls covered with bricks and aluminium. To help camouflage the technical area on the roof, a plastic mesh construction has been stretched over it.
The Proton Therapy Centre of the UMCG is expected to treat the first patients in the Netherlands by the end of 2017. This treatment has a great advantage over the current irradiation process which uses photons. Protons release most of their energy only at the precise location of the tumour. As a result, the surrounding healthy tissue is hardly irradiated. This reduces the risk of side effects.