Chapter 12: The New Master Plan: Expanding the Main Campus

Chapter 12: The New Master Plan: Expanding the Main Campus



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Mr. Daigneau describes challenges he confronted in studying how to add buildings to the main campus and offer patients easy wayfinding. As there were no easy additions possible for patients, he began to look at the land occupied at the time by Garage 5 (owned by the Texas Medical Center) as well as land occupied by the Psychiatric Hospital, a surface parking lot, and the Dental School. Mr. Daigneau notes that future expansion, given MD Anderson's current land holdings, were limited. However research could be expanded by building to the north of Main Campus. These possibilities led to the plan of using all existing space for clinical activities while moving administrative offices, building across Holcombe Boulevard in order to expand the latter.



Publication Date



The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Building the Institution; The Administrator; MD Anderson History; MD Anderson Past; Institutional Processes; Discovery and Success; Building/Transforming the Institution; Growth and/or Change; Obstacles, Challenges; Professional Practice; The Professional at Work; Understanding the Institution; On the Nature of Institutions

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History


Well, originally going back to the master plan, we had studied how you could add buildings around the main complex. There was one proposal at one time to even add to the LeMaistre Clinic" build out farther. But one of the things that came out of that redo of the master plan was the zoning of the main complex. Basically, the concept was in the front of the main complex would be all patient care activities, because for wayfinding purposes, it was easier to have one main entrance. So for patients trying to come to Anderson, they would go to, as it turned out, one of two main entrances. One was for the ambulatory operations" the outpatient clinics" which was at the front of Clark. And the second was for hospital, which was the new Alkek. So from a wayfinding standpoint, if you look at Anderson, there's that drive that comes in front of Anderson, and that drive connects both entrances, Alkek and" so from a patient standpoint" and then the two main garages were Garage 10 and Garage 2. So the patients would park in one of the two garages or valet in the front. We had two valet operations. So from a wayfinding standpoint, having that centralized location was important.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Can I ask you" now, at this phase, when you were discussing the master plan" I mean" basically revisiting it in the light of Dr. Mendelsohn's announcement that we're going to grow by fifty percent, and you had said that a real limitation of the master plan, if it was conceived under Dr. LeMaistre, was that there really wasn't a sense of the long, long term. So did you add your voice? How did you add your voice at that point?

William Daigneau, MBA:

It was through the revision of the master plan.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

And what were you advocating in terms of long-range planning?

William Daigneau, MBA:

Well, based on my previous experience in life, I was trying to create a situation where it was easy for patients to find it. Now, employees, on the other hand, once they come to work for you, you show them where to park, you show them how to get in the facility, and then they're good to go. But patients that are often there for the first time, they're not well, people are scared" all of this is going on, so the thought was what we want to do is keep it as simple for patients as possible when they come to MD Anderson, because the Texas Medical Center is a big, complex place. So when we did the revision of the master plan, there were some previous versions of that where we would use the HMB site, which was twenty-some acres, for research purposes and continue to develop the main complex of the hospitals. But there was no good" you know" other than taking building right out to the street, which some institutions had done, Anderson was unique because of the setback we had. We had the garden in front and then the entrance. And from a patient standpoint, that's a much friendlier entry than coming all of a sudden on top of a building. So when we started revising the master plan, looking for the options for additions, there were really no good additions that could be made for outpatient activity. So then the question became, how would you expand outpatient activities? So we looked at adjacent to Garage 10 is Garage 5, which is on the corner of MD Anderson and Holcombe. That's owned by the Texas Medical Center. But we looked at that site because it was contiguous to the main complex and we could bridge there. So we looked at that site. We looked at behind Garage 10 was the psychiatric hospital, which was operated and owned by UT Health Sciences Center, and then around the back of the complex where Moursund is, and Baylor is on the other side of the street, there was, at that time, a big surface parking lot and the dental school. So long term, from a strategic standpoint, we identified those areas as potential development, even though we didn't own them. But from a development of the complex, it made sense. The issue was always, of course, timing. When could you get control of those sites? How fast could you get control of them? So from a practical standpoint, which is where the theoretical meets the real world, it became clear, at least to me, that future expansion for clinical operations was severely limited, but expansion for research was more likely. From the standpoint of building onto the north side of the complex for research purposes, it would allow you to maximize use of your fixed facilities in terms of the vivariums" two big vivariums there. So to support research activities, expanding to the north for research was the obvious answer. So that left the question then of, well, if research is going to occupy all those sites you identified" other than the Garage 5 site" and you don't want to build all the way to the street, then what options do you have for ambulatory operations? So that led to, which I mentioned earlier, the concept of using all existing space in the current clinical buildings and maximizing their use. So that strategy became then moving all administrative offices out, which we had begun doing anyway. And then the big breakthrough there was move the faculty offices out. And that allowed us to basically expand clinical operations in place in buildings that had been designed for that in the first place. You already had the investment there for clinical operations, so to maximize their use for clinical operations made a lot of economic sense as long as you could convince the faculty that walking across the street every day was not that big of a challenge. And as I said earlier, Dr. von Eschenbach took the lead at convincing the clinical faculty that this was" if they wanted more space and they wanted it soon, this was the most practical solution to it. So thus was born the Faculty Center and the decision to move clinical operations across the street, which was a major break in the history of Anderson. So with that kind of strategy now in place, you expand research to the north, expand patient care activities to the south, jumping across Holcombe to do that. That was a key turning point in terms of how we would accomplish all of this.

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Chapter 12: The New Master Plan: Expanding the Main Campus