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MORGANTOWN, WVA-Good news has come to those seeking increased healthcare options in this central West Virginia region along the Pennsylvania border now that ground has been broken on the $75 million expansion of the 450-bed West Virginia University Hospitals property. Facility augmentation will center on the campus’s Ruby Memorial Hospital, which will see an addition of a total of 180,000 sf by the time the project wraps up in 2005.

“WVU Hospitals has been a rich source of innovation in this state,” Gov. Bob Wise said in a comment from the groundbreaking. “When the state could not support a new hospital in the 1980s, WVU took the hospital off the state’s books and created an innovative new structure–a not-for-profit university hospital.” Ruby Memorial currently holds 385 of the greater hospital property’s 450 beds. The 81-bed and six-operating room expansion endeavor includes 51,000 sf for the operating rooms and support space; 128,000 sf for intensive care units, skilled nursing, acute care, and support space; and renovations to 60,800 sf of existing space. Developers will build a seven-story tower and expand the top floors of an existing structure to encase the new spaces.

“The reason why we’re adding is we’ve been running at maximum capacity for three years,” Bill Case, director of public information for WVU’s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, tells GlobeSt.com. “It is important to West Virginia because, in the past, some of our patients have had to leave West Virginia to get tertiary healthcare. As we have expanded services at the university–in cancer care and neuroscience–more patients are choosing to stay and more physicians are referring cases here, and that’s why we’ve been operating at maximum capacity.”

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