Wheeling, W.Va. – Things looked pretty bleak a few years ago when Ohio Valley Medical Center in downtown Wheeling closed, but Wheeling officials say they have a lot of hope now with the announcement from Friday by WVU Medicine which will build a regional cancer center on the site of the former Wheeling downtown hospital.
WVU Medicine President and CEO Albert Wright said the cancer center, a joint project with the West Virginia Cancer Institute, will make it easier for cancer patients to get the care they need.
“Our mission is to ensure people have convenient access to our network of care, especially cancer care, and to the specialists and sub-specialists who are the backbone of that network,” Wright said in a statement. press Friday. “This project will improve that access while serving as a major catalyst for continued economic growth and development in the City of Wheeling.”
The City of Wheeling currently owns the OVMC property. WVU Medicine will pay for the demolition of the old hospital, and then the city will donate the property to the project.
Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron called the project “transformational” for the area.
“It will also change the economic landscape of the Central Market area, downtown Wheeling and the city as a whole,” Herron predicted.
The Ohio County Commission is also part of the partnership.
It could take up to five years to complete the project, Wright said. When completed, the four-story, 75,000 to 90,000 square foot complex will house approximately 150 workers. WVU Medicine expects approximately 40,000 patient visits per year.
The city purchased the OVMC property, which includes seven buildings, in June 2020. Alecto Healthcare announced plans to close the hospital in August 2019. The announced closure came as a surprise to many as hundreds of people lost their job.
Wheeling City Councilman Dave Palmer said Friday that now is the time to put the past behind and move forward.
“I am thrilled with WVU Medicine for their continued investment in the City of Wheeling. While it saddens me to say goodbye to ‘OV’ as we knew it, it will be the dawn of a new era for Center Wheeling,” Palmer said. “A facility like this will improve our health care in this region, so our citizens won’t have to travel to other regions to get the care they need. I couldn’t be more grateful to our City staff and County Commissioners for their help in bringing this project to fruition.