Groundbreaking for new $170-million cancer center in Greenville

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Vidant Health officials broke ground Friday on a new cancer center and bed tower at Vidant Medical Center that will create a state-of-the-art destination for oncology patients and families.

Officials say the facility is much needed because eastern North Carolina has a much higher mortality rate for cancer diagnosis than the national average, and more than 7,500 new cases are diagnosed each year in this region.

The new 418,000 square-foot cancer center and bed tower will be located adjacent to the existing East Carolina Heart Institute on the Vidant Medical Center campus. The six-story, 96-bed facility will be designed so all inpatient beds can provide care at either intensive or intermediate care levels.

The estimated cost of construction and equipping the cancer center and bed tower is more than $170 million. Approximately $40 million of the cost is expected to be funded through philanthropy.

Construction begins in April 2015, with estimated completion in 2018.