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Ohio State Will Build New Hospital Tower In Wexner Medical Center Complex

Ohio State University
James Cancer Hospital and Solov Research Institute

The Ohio State University will build a new hospital tower on the Wexner Medical Center campus, along with a new ambulatory center near Kenny Road.

"The tower would be the largest single facilities project ever undertaken at Ohio State," said a press release from spokesperson Chris Davey.

The university wants the tower to have up to 840 hospital beds, all in private-room settings, that would expand and replace the 440 beds in Rhodes Hall and Doan Hall. The tower would also include 60 neonatal intensive care unit bassinets and a connector to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

College of Medicine Dean Craig Kent says the current Wexner Medical Center is always full. 

"We have patients coming from Columbus and everywhere for care, and we don't have beds to care for them all," Kent said in an interview. "Our emergency rooms are always full."

According to Kent, the hospital received a 20 percent budget increase in the National Institute of Health budget. Wexner Medical Center hopes to recruit a few hundred new physicians with the hospital growth and additional funds. 

"We envision a medical campus in which all building projects integrate and support each other — and where the very best people work together across areas of expertise to further elevate the quality of the medical center and the entire university," wrote president Michael V. Drake in the release.

The ambulatory center, on the West Campus, would have outpatient operating rooms and urgent care units.

Kent projects the ambulatory center could be completed in three to four years, and the hospital tower in six to seven. 

"Hospitals take a long time to build. They're very complex facilities, and even the design phase of a hospital is a fairly substantial period of time," Kent said. 

Ohio State announced requests for qualifications on Wednesday, looking for design professionals for the two Wexner Medical Center projects. 

The university plans to situate the tower between 12th Avenue and Medical Center Dr., west of The Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital. 

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.