Ground was broken Tuesday, Sept. 20, for a five-story cancer center that will be part of the Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.

The center will be the northern oncology hub for RWJBarnabas Health and is slated to be a regional treatment site for outpatient cancer care. Completion of the $225 million center, which will be part of the CBMC campus on Old Short Hills Road in Livingston, is scheduled for December 2025.

The medical center’s partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey gives patients access to advanced treatment options, including immunotherapy, blood and marrow transplantation, CAR T-cell therapy, and clinical trials, many of which are not available elsewhere. Patients no longer need to travel far for the latest treatments.

Not only will the center provide traditional medical services, like surgeries and radiation, but also non-Western medical practices, like yoga, reiki and musical therapy.

Using the slogan “Reimagining Cancer Care,” officials at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center said they want to provide a more holistic approach for their patients. Alongside the traditional and nontraditional services available, the center will also have a wig and prosthetic studio.

In addition to the treatment and therapy provided inside the center, hospital officials intend to provide a pleasant aesthetic on the grounds.  

Renderings provided by Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center show a terrace rooftop with bright-colored flowers that will be available for both patients and workers. Rooms that will be allocated for short-term or extended-stay treatment will overlook the greenery on campus. 

“When you have clinicians together under one roof to meet regularly and collaborate, along with integrated services, you are providing peace of mind, greater convenience, and a better experience for the patient,” said Dr. Russell Langan, chief of surgical oncology and hepatopancreatobiliary surgery at Cooperman Barnabas.

“Moreover,” he added, “in addition to providing this improved peace of mind, the multiteam environment this cancer center will create will also result in better clinical outcomes.”

Dr. Steven Libutti, the director of Rutgers Cancer Institute, spoke about the importance of having a comprehensive center for patients.

“We know that cancer doesn't travel well, and patients shouldn't have to leave the state or go far from home to receive the best care possible,” Libutti said. “This requires collaboration and an integrated multidisciplinary network of exceptional cancer specialists and researchers who are revolutionizing care.”

With this new building, patients won’t have to worry about traveling a distance to see different doctors for the same ailment. 

Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and chief executive of RWJBarnabas, said he hoped the new center will be one more step to making health care more accessible to the people of northern New Jersey.

“Our mission is to help ensure that we have healthy communities, and you have to have top-notch world-class critical care together with comprehensive social care to ensure that our communities are healthy,” Ostrowsky said.

Hospital officials cited a $100 million donation from Leon and Toby Cooperman in 2021 as being pivotal in the expansion of the medical center. 

Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center is New Jersey’s oldest nonsectarian hospital. Serving the community since 1865, more than 100,000 people are treated at the center annually between the inpatient and emergency departments. The hospital is in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, which will continue providing research when the new cancer center is built.