Rex Hospital could break ground this fall on a new cancer center building that will add 175 jobs to the West Raleigh hospital.
The Raleigh Planning Commission approved the expansion plans Tuesday. The City Council could discuss the issue next week.
Rex Hospital officials want to build three more facilities, which will hold expansions of the cancer center, main hospital, and a lobby, concourse and indoor commons area.
The plans also include a reconfiguration of the main parking lot and 3.9 acres of tree conservation areas, according to Raleigh Senior Planner Stacy Barbour.
The site plans required preliminary approval from the Planning Commission because the proposed expansion is more than 25,000 square feet and the location is 400 feet from residences. Planning Commission members also had to approve the proposed building heights, which exceed 80 feet.
Barbour, who presented Rex’s site plans, said the three proposed expansions will occur along the campus’ south side on Lake Boone Trail.
Rex Hospital’s Vice President of Support Services Chad Lefteris told the Planning Commission construction will take place in three phases, with floors one through seven of the cancer center facilities and parking lot reconfiguration first. The lobby area, concourse, and medical facility will follow and floors eight through 10 of the cancer center facility will be constructed last.
Lefteris also explained the hospital’s growth review process, which took three years and included a relocation study.
“The study concluded that with the acreage that we have here — 60-plus acres — we also have acreage across the street, that we can meet our needs and the needs of Wake County citizens and their families here in this location by starting with this phased approach,” Lefteris said.
The expansion is part of Rex’s Vision 2030 plan. Rex officials decided to expand several years ago, Lefteris said.
“We’re over 30 years old and there’s infrastructure, utilities, and other things that we just need to update and improve,” he said.
Rex Hospital has 433 licensed beds and about 5,000 employees, according to Lefteris.
Mike Horne of Kimley, Horne and Associates, who is working with Rex on the expansion, said they looked at it as a “consolidation plan,” with all of Rex’s groups being in a “central location.”
Horne said, based on projections, there will be no increase in beds, but 175 new employees will be hired during the next five years.
The proposed cancer center would be an out-patient facility connected to the patient tower. Lefteris said no new doctors will be hired for the cancer center, and they have yet to determine whether any are required for the medical center expansion. He said many of the physicians are either on campus or outside affiliated groups.
“The cancer center today is just so cramped,” Lefteris said. “Unfortunately, it’s not the best thing for our patients to be sitting in very tight spaces. It’s a very emotional time.”