The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI) is a state-of-the-art research and training facility and the only proton therapy cancer treatment center in Virginia. The facility contains five treatment rooms to treat over 2,000 patients annually with breast, lung, prostate, pediatric and other cancers. HUPTI is the largest free-standing proton therapy institute in the world. With an additional beam line dedicated to research, the proton center will be the first in the nation to provide proton-specific medical career training at a variety of levels.
The central feature of the building is the cutting edge Proton Therapy System which consists of a cyclotron particle accelerator, beam transmission line, treatment gantries, and associated power supply and control rooms. Proton therapy works by targeting cancer tumors while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. It causes minimum or no side effects, and is non-invasive and painless, ensuring patients maintain quality-of-life during the treatment process.
Unusual design challenges were presented by the concrete radiation shielding, which were consistently over seven feet thick and surrounded the treatment gantries, beam transmission line, and cyclotron area on all sides. This resulted in a complex concrete structure, requiring close coordination with the architect and structural engineer when planning routes for ductwork, piping, and conduit. In many cases these services had to be cast directly into the concrete structure leaving zero margin for error.
Other design challenges were presented by the proton therapy equipment utility requirements. Vendor documentation was highly detailed and provided the necessary HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection design considerations. RMF’s resulting design included process cooling water loops, glycol chilled water system, process gases, drainage, lighting, and normal and emergency power to supply the Proton Therapy System. Electrically, the Proton Therapy equipment required supply voltages not common in the United States. Working closely with other disciplines and the proton therapy equipment vendor, RMF was instrumental in the design of this complex facility.
- HUPTI is strategically located in the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern region.
- HUPTI has 4 Gantry rooms and 1 fixed beam room.
- HUPTI will treat over 2,000 patients per year.
- Protons may be accelerated to 60% of the speed of light, about 402 million miles/hour.
- The HUPTI treatment gantries weigh over 90 tons each.
- The facility has over 68 million pounds of concrete structure.
People & Technology Leveraged
This project highlights the value of an integrated design process where the Architect, several Engineers and the specialist vendor worked hand in hand to drive a very successful project result. The proton vendor’s concluding statement says it all: “the project was the very best, well coordinated by the design team”.