MARIETTA - The Memorial Health System announced Thursday a multimillion-dollar expansion in Belpre, just two months after it celebrated the opening of a 50,000-square-foot facility there.
Memorial President and CEO Scott Cantley said the two-story Belpre Medical Campus on Farson Street just off U.S. 50 was designed to have room for growth in the future, but that didn't last long.
"We knew there was interest of physicians in the Belpre and Parkersburg area, and that building's filled up," he said.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Marietta Memorial Hospital announced the groundbreaking of an additional 50,000-square-foot expansion to its existing Belpre facility. The building has an expected completion date of July 2013.
The new expansion will consist of two buildings, totaling a combined 50,000 square feet. Since it is similar in size to the previous project, Cantley estimates it will be comparable in price - $12 million - and number of jobs created.
"Ultimately, we would anticipate another 50 to 100 positions," he said.
Initial soil testing is already under way. The buildings will be constructed simultaneously, with the first expected to be completed by July and the second following soon thereafter, Cantley said.
The Belpre campus included an expansion of the Strecker Cancer Center there, an urgent care facility, office space for 37 primary and specialty care physicians and nurse practitioners and services like MRI, ultrasound, mammography and CT scans. The new space will continue in that vein, Cantley said.
"The health care model of the future, we believe, requires physicians and hospitals to partner together," he said.
The acquisition of physician practices by hospitals has been a growing trend in recent years.
To say Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz was pleased with Thursday's announcement, which came during a Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon, would be an understatement. Lorentz said he expected more development in the area, but didn't know whether that would come from Memorial or the PM Company, which owns the land and built the building and had been looking to add some businesses in the area.
"It's not only construction jobs now, it's jobs in the future and services for anyone looking for a doctor," Lorentz said. "I feel like Belpre's got a pretty good partner, that's the way I look at it, with
Memorial and with the PM Company."
The city is doing what it can to help by making infrastructure improvements to the area around the medical park.
Construction will start next month on more than 3,000 feet of sidewalk between that site and Belpre Elementary School, funded by a $280,000 Safe Routes to Schools grant. A $1.4 million project to add a designated turning lane on Farson Street to alleviate traffic congestion is expected to go out for bid in March, with construction planned to begin in April.
"It's going to be fast-tracked," Lorentz said of the latter project, which will be funded with an Appalachian Regional Commission grant and state road money.