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West Virginia health system investing hundreds of millions in new facilities


The WVU Medicine board approved $400 million for new projects. The system also recently announced plans to build a new cancer hospital.

The West Virginia University Health System is setting the stage for some big projects in the near future.

Image credit: WVU Medicine

WVU Medicine has announced plans to build a new outpatient facility for the WVU Eye Institute.

The WVU Medicine board of directors signed off on a capital budget that directs nearly $400 million on new facilities, including plans for a $233 outpatient facility for the WVU Eye Institute.

The plans come less than two weeks after WVU Medicine announced plans for a new cancer hospital, buoyed by a $50 million donation. The new cancer hospital will be part of the WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital complex in Morgantown.

Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the WVU Health System, said the projects on their own would have a big impact, but the scope of all the plans will expand opportunities for patients.

“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 said in a statement Thursday.

Some projects require regulatory and board approvals, the system said.

Here’s a rundown of WVU Medicine’s plans.

Eye Institute

WVU Medicine announced plans to move the WVU Eye Institute to a new location in Morgantown, and the institute is poised for a big expansion.

The plans call for a new, 150,000-square-foot outpatient facility with surgical suites. WVU Medicine says the new facility will have space for 102 exam rooms and 44 testing rooms, which marks a significant expansion. The institute currently has 60 exam rooms and 13 testing rooms. System officials say there is growing demand for specialty services.

"This is an exciting moment for the Eye Institute as it looks to a future of growth and expansion to serve our patients better, especially for those patients who need our highly specialized eye care," Thomas Mauger, MD, executive chair of the WVU Eye Institute, said in a statement.

The plans also call for a new, multi-level parking garage with room for more than 1,100 spaces.

Image credit: WVU Medicine

WVU Medicine has announced plans to build a new cancer hospital, with support from a $50 million donation.

New cancer hospital

WVU Medicine announced in early April that it plans to build a “multi-story” cancer hospital.

The Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust has donated $50 million to the WVU Cancer Institute to build the new hospital at the WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital complex. WVU Medicine says the plans call for surgical suites, inpatient rooms, outpatient clinics, and an outpatient pharmacy.

The new hospital will be a key element of the WVU Cancer Institute, which is pursuing National Cancer Institute designation.

““This continues Hazel Ruby McQuain’s desire and vision to develop a full-service medical campus and complex in Morgantown that serves as the state’s flagship academic medical center,” Wright said in a statement.

The governing boards of WVU Health System and WVU Hospitals must approve the project, which would be developed over the next several years. The system will revise its campus plan for the new cancer hospital.

Hazel Ruby McQuain, a businesswoman, donated $8.5 million in 1983 to build the J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital. Four decades later, the academic medical center now has 881 beds.

Other projects

WVU Health System has also approved $44 million to build new operating rooms at WVU Fairmont Medical Center. The plans also call for a new dialysis unit, infusion center and other improvements.

In addition, the system signed off on $37.3 million to build a new, multi-specialty ambulatory facility at WVU Medicine United Hospital Center. The facility will offer family medicine and urgent care, along with cardiology, oncology, imaging and infusion services. WVU Medicine described the new facility as a “hospital without beds.”

WVU Medicine is also investing more than $64 million in its Princeton and Bluefield properties.

The system is planning a new cancer center on the campus of WVU Medicine Princeton Community Hospital. In addition, WVU Medicine is planning a new emergency department for the Bluefield Pavilion campus, along with imaging and lab services.

Growing system

WVU Medicine has expanded substantially in recent years. The system has 23 member hospitals in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland.

Since 2017, WVU Medicine has added 16 hospitals, including many small facilities.

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