Rex cancer center approved

The addition is among several major health care projects in the Triangle.

Staff WriterJuly 21, 2010 

State regulators have approved Rex Healthcare's plan to build a $60.1 million cancer center at its main campus in Raleigh.

The five-story addition is part of a bigger expansion planned at Rex. It's also the latest in a series of major medical projects under way or proposed across the Triangle.

The N.C. Cancer Hospital at Rex will coordinate patient care with the $207 million N.C. Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill, which the UNC Health Care System opened last fall. UNC bought Rex 10 years ago.

Rex, which is Wake County's second-largest hospital after WakeMed, is expanding its cancer services to handle increasing demand from this region's growing population.

"This is exciting news for all of us, and especially for the many cancer patients who we serve," Rex CEO David Strong wrote in e-mail to employees.

Other area hospitals also recognize surging demand for cancer care. In Durham, the Duke University Health System is building a $240 million addition to its cancer center. And earlier this month, Duke Raleigh Hospital opened its renovated, 12,000-square-foot cancer center, part of a broader set of improvements at the facility in North Raleigh.

The Rex project will add 71,542 square feet of space and renovate 21,624 square feet of existing space. The facility will include new equipment and a range of services for oncology patients. It will be built at the front of Rex's existing cancer center.

Rex officials expect to break ground in the fall of 2011 and open the center in early 2014.

One goal is to create a cancer center that will allow patients from in and around Wake County to access specialized care at UNC without driving to Chapel Hill.

The project is one piece of Rex's "Vision 2030" plan to expand and modernize facilities at its 65-acre campus at the corner of Blue Ridge Road and Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh.

Last month, Rex also applied to regulators for a $120 million upgrade at its flagship hospital. That project would include a bigger facility for cardiovascular care, an expanded surgery center and a new entrance for surgery patients.

The state's Certificate of Need laws limit new medical projects to control health costs. State analysts review projects based on patient volume, projected demand and other factors.

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