November 6, 2023
ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – On November 4th, Governor Albert Bryan Jr., members of the 35th Legislature, Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett, officials from the government of the Virgin Islands, and the community marked a historic moment in the healthcare landscape of the Territory as they gathered to celebrate the long-anticipated groundbreaking for the reconstruction of the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute (CKCI).
Closed since Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the rebirth of CKCI stands as a beacon of hope and progress in the fight against cancer in the territory.
Attorney Tina Comissiong, Chief Executive Officer of Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC), said, “The Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute is an essential part of our commitment to providing healthcare excellence right here at home, and we are extremely happy to witness this groundbreaking and begin the journey to its rebuilding. The reinstatement of CKCI restores vital radiation therapy and other advanced cancer treatment services and resources, creating access to premium healthcare right here in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
In June 2022, FEMA obligated the necessary funds to begin demolishing the damaged portions of the facility and reconstruct a new cancer treatment center. The $50 million obligation allowed SRMC to complete the necessary demolition work in May 2023 and begin the solicitation phase for a contractor who would rebuild the shuttered facility.
Darryl A. Smalls, the Executive Director of the Territorial Redevelopment Team (THRT), said, “Today’s groundbreaking is a significant milestone in our mission to enhance healthcare in the Virgin Islands. This project marks the first of four major reconstruction initiatives by the THRT aimed at creating resilient and sustainable healthcare facilities for our community. The revamped Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute will not only provide state-of-the-art cancer care but also serve as a beacon of hope and healing. We are committed to a brighter, healthier future for our residents and neighbors in the Caribbean.”
The THRT has already started the designs for the new Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix and the Myrah Keating Health Center on St. John, both obligated in May 2023 for $927 million and $37 million, respectively.
Dee Beacher-Brown, President of the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands and friend of the Charlotte and Henry Kimelman family, shared remarks on their behalf, “The Kimelman family’s enduring commitment to the U.S. Virgin Islands and their passionate support for this project has been nothing short of inspiring. Their dedication to the people of the Virgin Islands and their vision for a state-of-the-art cancer institute has been unwavering. Today’s groundbreaking is a testament to their generosity and the spirit of community that drives us all.”
The scope of the project will be executed by J. Benton Construction and includes additions and extensions, the replacement and hardening of the roof, repairs and improvements to the exterior, and the reconfiguration and modernization of interior systems, ensuring CKCI can withstand windstorms and seismic events. All of the facility’s interior will be replaced, including doors, floors, walls, ceilings, and finishes. An updated elevator, in addition to modern electrical, telecommunications, HVAC, and plumbing systems, will also be installed.
Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien thanked FEMA for prioritizing CKCI and for providing the necessary support to rebuild from the storms of 2017. The Director also recognized Congress and Delegate Stacey Plaskett for the enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act OF 2018, that allows the Territory to rebuild to industry standards and for ensuring that the government of the Virgin Islands receives all the compulsory funding.
In her remarks, Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett recalled the devastation and lobbying for the funding that the Bipartisan Budget Act provides. The Delegate also acknowledged the staff of ODR for their tireless efforts to make sure this and other projects are funded and completed.
The Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Albert Bryan Jr., closed the ceremony with these remarks, “In order to persist in the mission to build back better, we all must continue working together, staying focused on the goal – to make sure that the people of the Territory have access to quality healthcare, education, workforce development options, and housing. The groundbreaking of CKCI signifies a new beginning, reaffirming the administration’s dedication to creating a robust health care system for the people of the Territory.”
Construction will commence immediately and is expected to be complete by the end of 2025.
The Office of Disaster Recovery
“Building a Legacy of Resilience”
The Bryan-Roach Administration is committed to transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit transparency.vi.gov