Just a few months ago, plans to expand Duke University Hospital with a new patient tower and cancer center were on pause, despite winning state regulatory approval, thanks to the economy.
That changed today with the announcement that the university will undertake an enormous expansion of its medical center facilities, declaring Nov. 6 as the groundbreaking date for 850,000 sq. ft. in new space. The university has pegged the cost at $700 million, though the Triangle Business Journal suggests that construction contingency and financing expenses could push the cost over $1 billion.
It's good news for the local job market: 1,500 construction jobs during the erection of an eight-story patient tower and a seven-story comprehensive cancer care center, both located on the site around the old Bell Building between Duke North and Duke South. Add to that 1,000 permanent jobs at the hospital when the expansion's done.
TBJ cites the current heavy utilization of the 1970s-era Duke North tower as a rationale for moving ahead even in difficult economic times.
A walkway between Duke North and Duke South will remain open throughout the four-year construction project, an effort that will take over 5,500 tons of structural steel.