Philanthropists Douglas and Nancy Barnhart Make Million-Dollar Gift to New Cancer Center at Sharp Chula Vista

Chula Vista, Calif. — Thanks to a $1 million gift from local philanthropist and prominent builder Douglas Barnhart and his wife, Nancy, San Diego's new world-class cancer treatment facility has a name: The Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.

Douglas Barnhart — whose construction portfolio includes notable projects like Petco Park, San Diego International Airport and Chargers Training Stadium — has been an integral part of the Cancer Center with his company, Makena Medical Buildings, LLC, serving as the builder. With the first patients expected in late summer, the gift from the Douglas E. and Nancy J. Barnhart Charitable Foundation makes way for move-in at the $36 million, 45,000-square-foot facility.

"We're fortunate to have partners as giving and passionate as Doug and Nancy, who truly believe in the impact this facility will have on cancer care in San Diego," said Bill Littlejohn, senior vice president and chief executive officer of the Sharp HealthCare Foundation.

The Barnharts' gift is the largest to the Cancer Center. Partially inspired by his work with the project, inspiration for it also came from Doug's own experience with cancer. He was diagnosed with stage 1 prostate cancer four years ago and is now in remission.

"Being diagnosed with cancer is a pretty good kick in the stomach," Barnhart said. "I became involved with the Cancer Center because I wanted to make it a place for patients like me."  

The Cancer Center's unique design features thoughtful touches — many of which were inspired by Doug's personal connection — like a private patient entrance, soothing décor and a rooftop garden where patients can receive chemotherapy outside. In addition, the Cancer Center's radiation treatment suites are the only ones in the country known to offer floor-to-ceiling windows with garden views.

"I've built a lot of large, complex buildings," Barnhart said. "When we were working with the architect [NTD Architects], I said, 'I want you to design something not for administrators, but for patients.' That's exactly what we've done."

The Barnharts' gift was announced at a private grand opening held on June 14. A community open house was held on June 16.

Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center is a 343-bed hospital with the largest array of health care services in south San Diego County. Home to the region's most comprehensive cardiac care program, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center also specializes in cancer treatment and bloodless medicine and surgery.

Last Updated: February 22, 2013