The Augusta Planning Board has approved a major expansion to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care at 361 Old Belgrade Road in Augusta. Ashley Allen/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — The Augusta Planning Board unanimously approved plans for a $36 million expansion of the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care meant to address increasing demand for services at the specialized facility.

Chuck Hays, outgoing president and CEO of MaineGeneral Health, said the center at 361 Old Belgrade Road is seeing roughly 2,000 new patients a year, more than twice the amount the building was designed to accommodate when it opened in 2007.

“It’s a really nice, attractive facility that has served a great purpose over the last 15 years in providing cancer treatment for folks in this region” said Andy Johnston of Atlantic Resource Consultants, who represented MaineGeneral Health in Tuesday’s Planning Board hearing. “Unfortunately the need for those treatment services continues to grow. And at this point it’s virtually outgrowing the existing facility, and hence the need for the addition.”

No members of the public spoke against the proposal Tuesday.

The project would add nearly 28,000 square feet in two additions to the center’s existing 57,000 square feet of floor space. Another 18,000 square feet of existing space would be renovated.

Officials said the expansion would increase the number of exam rooms from 15 to 27, and infusion bays, where chemotherapy treatments are administered, from 34 to 44.


Despite the Planning Board’s decision, construction cannot begin until the Maine Department of Environmental Protection approves an amendment to MaineGeneral’s permit.

“Cancer is the leading cause of death in our state,” said Emily Theriault, who was recently appointed to the Planning Board. “And if we are growing opportunity to increase access to care in our community and optimize the health and well-being for those in our community, I’m absolutely for that.”

An artist’s rendering shows the proposed expansion to MaineGeneral Health’s Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta. Courtesy of MaineGeneral Health

Steve Dumont, board member, voted to approve it despite his concerns about a lack of a turning lane into the site to allow traffic to enter without blocking motorists behind them on Old Belgrade Road. He said he asked for a turning lane there when the cancer center was up for its initial review in 2006 but was told it was not needed.

“Well that was before the traffic circles were put in off the Interstate, the Route 3 bypass, and now there is four to five times the traffic there,” Dumont said. “A lot of mornings, you can’t come down Old Belgrade Road because somebody is waiting to turn into the cancer center and the cars are backed up to the top of the hill. If they had a turning lane, they could get out of the way and the traffic could move.”

Johnston responded that when MaineGeneral Medical Center’s regional hospital was built on the site, opening in 2013, state Department of Transportation officials required the intersection of Old Belgrade Road and the new hospital entrance, just down the street from the cancer center’s entrance, to be upgraded with a traffic light and turning lanes on Old Belgrade Road. He noted motorists seeking to enter the cancer center may also do so by first turning into the main hospital entrance, then taking a left onto a second entryway into the cancer center.

A total of 9,468 patients are projected to seek treatment from the facility in 2028, up from 5,274 who received care in 2018.


Hospital officials said demand for oncology services has increased for multiple reasons: With Maine’s aging population, there has been an increase in cancer incidences; cancer is being detected in patients earlier through advanced screening; and with advancements in treatment, people are living longer with cancer and requiring ongoing care. The cancer center also is seeing more rural patients through clinical partnerships with Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan and Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington.

The expansion would be funded by $6 million in MaineGeneral operating cash revenues, and $30 million from fundraising, of which $28 million has already been raised, according to Hays.

The public portion of the fundraising is expected to get underway Oct. 7 as part of annual Day of Hope events. Officials anticipate breaking ground on the project in October, with the expanded area opening in spring or summer of 2025 and project completion in fall or winter of the same year.

Joy McKenna, spokesperson for MaineGeneral, said construction could start before the fundraising goal is reached.

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