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Officials speak at a groundbreaking for the new University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in downtown Phoenix. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- The new University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in downtown Phoenix held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Thursday.

The new outpatient clinic at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus will go up on the northwest corner of Fillmore and Seventh streets.

It's expected to open in 2015.

The 220,000-square-foot, $100 million cancer clinic will offer comprehensive cancer services. The five-story building will feature nearly a quarter-of-a-million square feet of clinical lab space and specialized cancer services.

University President Ann Weaver Hart said the center will be a place where doctors can do groundbreaking research on different types of cancer. She said they will be "physicians who understand that basic research needs to be translated into treatments and that those treatments need to be tried so that we can understand how to advance the health, well being and survival of cancer among our citizens."

Under an affiliation agreement approved by the Arizona Board of Regents and Dignity Health Arizona, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center will operate outpatient services at the new downtown facility as well at its hospital campus.

St. Joseph's President Linda Hunt said the center already has a goal.

"Let's figure out how we can recognize cancer earlier," she said. "Let's cure cancer sooner, and let's help people be healthier, so that they don't get cancer."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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