Local News

Duke to begin $700M hospital expansion

Posted August 26, 2009 1:18 p.m. EDT
Updated August 26, 2009 1:26 p.m. EDT

— Duke University Health System officials announced Wednesday that they were moving forward with the construction of a state-of-the-art cancer center and the new Duke Medicine Pavilion to expand surgery and critical care services at Duke University Hospital.

The two facilities, which will cost more than $700 million total, will add about 850,000 square feet to Duke's sprawling medical center campus. The cancer center is expected to be completed in 2012, while the Duke Medicine Pavilion is expected to be ready for patients the following year.

"The primary factor in our decision to move forward with these projects is our sense of responsibility and conviction to ensure that we meet the current and projected demands for the high quality health care services that patients have come to expect from Duke," Dr. Victor Dzau, chancellor for health affairs and chief executive of Duke Health, said in a statement. "This project is all about our patients, faculty and staff, and our missions of clinical care, teaching, and pursuing breakthrough research."

The project also will act as an economic driver for the region, creating up to 1,500 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent health care positions, officials said.

The seven-story, 267,000-square-foot cancer center will consolidate outpatient cancer services and clinical research from across the campus into a patient-centered, multidisciplinary center. It will adjoin to the Morris Cancer Clinic and will include 140 examination rooms, 75 infusion stations, a pharmacy and an outdoor garden terrace for chemotherapy patients.

"Patients in North Carolina and elsewhere will have access to a center of excellence that combines the best in convenient, multidisciplinary cancer care, along with leading edge approaches to personalized treatment strategies," Dr. William Fulkerson Jr., senior vice president for clinical affairs for Duke Health, said in a statement.

"Research shows that cancer care is most effective when delivered by specialists who are specifically trained and exclusively focused on cancer treatment and research," Dzau said. "Providing this kind of focused, highly specialized multidisciplinary cancer care represents a distinctive way that Duke is providing special value to the community."

The Duke Medicine Pavilion will be an eight-story building and will include 16 new operating suites, 96 critical care beds and 64 intermediate care beds in about 580,000 square feet of space.

The operating suites will feature cutting-edge surgical technologies, as well as MRI and CT imaging capabilities that will enable greater real-time precision and safety in complex procedures, officials said.

The new critical care beds are urgently needed because existing intensive care and step-down care space at Duke Hospital is almost at capacity, officials said. The 64 new intermediate care beds will allow for patients to transition from intensive care beds to standard hospital rooms.

The expanded Duke clinical facilities will also serve as a state-of-the-art training and education facility for the nearly 900 residents and fellows at Duke who comprise one of the largest training programs in the United States.

"I believe the combined clinical and research advancements at Duke and (the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), as well as the enhanced collaboration between the institutions, have the potential to turn the Research Triangle into one of the country's epicenters for excellence and advancements in cancer care," Dzau said.

Duke's cancer program is among the top 10 in the country according to U.S. News & World Report and is one of 40 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

The expansion follows several recent capital projects Duke Health has undertaken, including renovations at Duke Raleigh and Durham Regional hospitals and the opening of new clinics in the Brier Creek area, Morrisville, Knightdale and north Raleigh.