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$400M Investment by WVU Medicine to Build, Improve Hospitals in Five Locations

Tue April 23, 2024 - Northeast Edition #10
WVNews


A new outpatient facility is planned for the WVU Eye Institute in Morgantown.
Photo courtesy of WVU Medicine
A new outpatient facility is planned for the WVU Eye Institute in Morgantown.

Expanding high-quality health care to reach more West Virginians has been the vision of West Virginia University (WVU) Medicine President and CEO Albert Wright since he arrived at the Morgantown campus about 10 years ago.

Joining with the dynamic leadership of university President E. Gordon Gee and a dedicated WVU Medicine board, that vision has since become a mission following the healthcare system's planned $400 million investment announced April 18.

With the board's recent blessing, WVU Medicine plans to "accelerate the health system's growth and infuse West Virginia with several new healthcare facilities positioned across multiple parts of the state," university officials said.

Projects are set for new facilities in Morgantown, Fairmont, Elkins, Princeton and Bluefield — all of which are subject to regulatory approvals, according to WVNews, an online statewide news service.

"Separately, these are all transformative projects; collectively, they represent a giant leap as we continue to build a best-in-class health system for the people of West Virginia and the broader region," Wright explained.

"Our true north remains our commitment to our patients and our ability to serve them in a caring and healing environment. By expanding the breadth and depth of our programs and infrastructure, we ensure the health system is well-positioned long-term to meet the needs of our patients."

He added that the projects will have a significant impact on the communities served, providing high-quality care closer to where patients live.

As a nonprofit, WVU Medicine believes it must invest in its communities and people, according to Wright.

"Our mission is to improve the health care of West Virginians," he continued. "This is a mix of upgrades to existing facilities as well as new facilities that stretch from Morgantown to Fairmont to Elkins to Princeton, and on down to Bluefield."

The preliminary details of the WVU Medicine projects include:

  • A new outpatient facility for the WVU Eye Institute in Morgantown.
  • New construction and renovation of the WVU Medicine Fairmont Medical Center.
  • In the Elkins corridor, a multi-specialty ambulatory facility linked to WVU Medicine United Hospital Center.
  • A comprehensive cancer center at WVU Medicine's Princeton Community Hospital.
  • A relocation of the emergency department (ED) to the Bluefield Pavilion, along with other services.
Morgantown

The plans for WVU Medicine's expansion in Morgantown call for the new $233.5 million multi-center facility to include surgical suites for the system's eye center. The structure will be on the site of the former Fieldcrest Hall at the intersection of Van Voorhis Road and Elmer Prince Drive and feature a multi-level parking garage with over 1,100 spaces.

Wright said the new WVU Eye Institute "will be the first thing you see when you come into the WVU campus off of University Boulevard."

The change of location also provides the space needed to build the new WVU Cancer Institute closer to the main hospital, WVNews learned.

Fairmont

WVU Medicine proposes to invest $44 million in the construction and renovation of new operating rooms at Fairmont's hospital as well as a new pharmacy, cafeteria, dialysis unit, infusion center and other facility upgrades.

Wright told WVNews that the investment in Fairmont will allow for the operating room wing to be put back into use after a complete overhaul, adding that the facility will feature modern equipment.

Elkins

In the east-central West Virginia community of Elkins, WVU Medicine plans to spend $37.3 million to build a 38,000-sq.-ft. health facility linked to the system's United Hospital Center.

Dubbed a "hospital without beds," the facility is expected to offer walk-in family medicine and urgent care, in addition to treatment services ranging from cardiology, to orthopedics, oncology and infusion services, ear, nose and throat, urology, infectious diseases, pain management, pulmonology, rheumatology, and lab and imaging (mobile CT and MRI).

According to Wright, the Elkins project is "a new build" on 7 acres the health care system bought off the corridor a few months ago.

"We're extra excited about this project," he said.

Princeton and Bluefield

At the southern tip of the state, WVU Medicine is pouring $64.5 million into the construction of a cancer center on the campus of Princeton Community Hospital.

In nearby Bluefield, it also is planning to move its full-service ED and imaging and lab services to the Bluefield Pavilion campus and add 10 observation beds.

"The cancer burden and outcomes in [that region] are the worst in the state," he explained. "So, we're going to, as we expand the hospital there, consolidate all of our cancer services and beds into a new building. It will be a smaller version of what we're doing here in Morgantown."

Other Hospital Projects On Tap for WVU Health

The recent announcement came two weeks after WVU Health System said that it was in the initial stages of updating its comprehensive campus plan in Morgantown with the goal of building a multi-story cancer hospital as part of the J.W. Ruby Medical Complex.

A $50 million gift from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust was a catalyst for that project, which also is subject to certain board and regulatory approvals, WVNews noted.

The WVU health system also has many other new construction and expansion projects underway in the state, including those in Charleston, Ripley, Morgantown, Martinsburg, Glen Dale and Ranson, among others.

In 2022, WVU Medicine announced that it was investing $177 million in its infrastructure.




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