Contract awarded for med school near City Hospital

September 15, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A $4.79 million contract has been awarded to a Martinsburg company for construction of a medical education facility next to City Hospital with work on the center expected to begin Oct. 1, officials said Tuesday.

W. Harley Miller Contractors Inc. was awarded the contract to build the WVU Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center Eastern Division, according to a press release from the center.

The facility is expected to be finished by the fall of next year, the release said.

The project is expected to provide about 50 to 70 construction jobs, the release said.

The medical center is being built in hopes of luring more doctors to the area, which has been described as "medically underserved."


Two years ago in West Virginia, there were 16.8 doctors per every 10,000 people, compared with 20 doctors nationally. In the Eastern Panhandle, there were 9.3 doctors for every 10,000 people, state health officials said.

Officials at the new center hope to attract potential doctors to the area by recruiting medical students from West Virginia University, Marshall University and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, W.Va.

The center would attract students who have completed one or two years of their college education, officials with the center have said. They would move to the center to finish their remaining schooling, officials said.

The center will be built next to City Hospital's Dorothy McCormack Center along Dry Run Road, said Jay Bonfili, vice president for administration.

The 36,650-square-foot building will house a 200-seat auditorium, a 40-seat classroom, several meeting rooms, a paper and electronic library, a resident suite and a computer-based study area, the news release said.

A 12,500-square-foot portion of the second floor will remain unfinished "shell" space and will be reserved for future expansion, Bonfili said.

Besides receiving training at the center, students will receive training at City Hospital, Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va., the Veterans Affairs Medical Center near Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry Family Practice Center, officials said.

Last year, four medical students came to the area as part of the first group to train here, Bonfili said.

Three of those students have agreed to complete their residency training in Harpers Ferry, which is a good sign, Bonfili said.

Medical students usually practice in the area where they complete their residency training, Bonfili said.

"So far, so good," Bonfili said Tuesday night.

"This is a very exciting time for the people of Eastern West Virginia," Bonfili said in the news release. "The health-care professionals we train in this facility will serve the region for decades to come."

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., secured funding for the project from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration.

W. Harley Miller Contractors was awarded the contract by the West Virginia Board of Governors.

"We could never have reached this milestone without the vision and hard work of Sen. Byrd and the people of the Eastern Panhandle. Together, we have begun something that will serve many generations of West Virginians," Dr. Robert M. D'Alessandri, vice president for health services at West Virginia University, said in the release.

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