TOP STORIES OF 2022: WVU Medicine Plans Regional Cancer Center on Former OVMC Campus in Center Wheeling | News, Sports, Jobs

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Douglass Harrison, president and CEO of VVU ​​Medicine Wheeling Hospital and Reynolds Memorial Hospital, discusses during an October media event the new regional cancer center that will be built on the old OVMC campus.

WHEELING — VVU Medicine’s latest investment in the town of Wheeling will bring a regional cancer center to the area, with hopes of re-energizing a part of Wheeling that was hurt when Ohio Valley Medical Center closed its doors.

VVU Medicine announced in October that it would purchase the old OVMC campus, demolish the remaining vacant buildings and, in their place, build a four-story state-of-the-art cancer center.

“This is a huge win for VVU Medicine, and I think it will be a huge win for the city of Wheeling and Ohio County,” said Albert Wright Jr., president and CEO of West Virginia University Health System. the morning of the announcement. “We’re going to build a spectacular building and program here.” We hope you and your loved ones never need it, but if and when you do, we’ll be there.”

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According to hospital officials, the construction of the new center should take about five years. Plans for the facility call for between 75,000 and 90,000 square meters of space.

An expected workforce of 150 employees will be hired to handle the anticipated 40,000 patient visits per year.

Officials said the center will likely offer medical oncology, radiation oncology and mammography, a melanoma center, specialty pharmacy, telemedicine capabilities, multidisciplinary tumor boards and academic research facilities.

According to VVU Medicine, West Virginia has the second highest cancer death rate in the United States, making the future facility an important addition to the Northern Panhandle. Bernie Twigg, chairman of the board of trustees for VVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial and Wheeling Hospitals, said the center’s location will be as important as its purpose.

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“It will mean your families don’t travel to Pittsburgh, you don’t go to Columbus or Cleveland — you stay here in Wheeling, close to your family, and you get the best care you can find,” Twigg said. “This is going to be extraordinary.” In a few years, we will all be standing in awe as we cut the ribbon.”

Ohio city and county officials hope the new center won’t just be a bullet for health care in the region. They would like to see that it encourages the businesses that will sit around that facility. When OVMC was open, workers and patients’ families had those businesses at Center Market to eat and shop. The former hospital’s abrupt closing in 2019 eliminated much of that customer traffic, and the arrival of the regional cancer center could bring those customers back.

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Jenny Showalter, manager of the Market Cafe, said she is excited to see what effects the new center will have in Center Wheeling. The closing of OVMC was a tough loss, and the arrival of VVU ​​Medicine next door is something that could turn things around.

“That’s wonderful news,” she said. “Hopefully that will get (the central market) booming again.” When OVMC left, it died here. … I think it’s going to be amazing.”

Staff writers Eric Aires and Shelly Hanson contributed to this report.

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