WHEELING, W.Va. — Demolition gets underway this week on the former Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling so that a new WVU Medicine regional cancer center can be built.
Abatement has to take place for asbestos before the building can be torn down.
The closed city garage and connecting catwalk across Chapline Street will also be demolished.
Doug Harrison, president and CEO of WVU Medicine Wheeling and Reynolds Memorial hospitals, told MetroNews the entire project will take years to complete.
“We’re anticipating that the demolition project alone will be about 12-14 month time frame and we have five years to develop that site,” he said.
The demolition will cost about $6.8 million. The entire construction investment totals $70 million.
Being positioned right off state Route 2 in between Ohio and Pennsylvania, Harrison said the location is ideal in order to serve more patients.
“From a visibility standpoint, a traffic count standpoint, ease of access, this new regional cancer center will be easy to get to for our patients coming from all directions,” he said.
By the time the center is finished, Harrison said there will be a lot of infrastructure improvements. The city is working to repair roads as part of its Streetscape Project.
“New sidewalks, new lighting, new roads. Downtown Wheeling is going to look much different over the next few years,” he said.
The new cancer center will have four stories and between 75,000 and 90,000 square feet of space.
WVU Reynolds Memorial has an infusion program and WVU Medicine Wheeling has radiation and medical oncology programs that will be combined into one, according to Harrison.
“We’re just really looking at this new center to enhance those services and use it as a recruitment tool to bring in additional physicians and providers to that new center,” he said.
The new center is expected to employ about 150 people and have 40,000 patient visits per year.