ROANOKE, Va. – Economic leaders are promising lots of growth in the Roanoke Valley in the 2020s. A big reason for that is healthcare and Carilion Clinic is expected to lead the charge.
All the growth that's happened at Carilion in the last decade set the stage for where the not-for-profit is today, set to spend $1 billion on projects over just the next seven years.
President and CEO Nancy Agee said they're heading into the decade with a vision focused on fulfilling patient's needs and driving success for all of Southwest Virginia.
“We’ve accomplished more than we even imagined,” Agee said. “It’s this sort of renaissance that’s happened, happening and it’s given us a lot of pride.”
Signs of progress are popping up around Carilion's campus.
"Buildings are just a reflection of what happens, it's more the care," Agee said.
Projects in the works right now include one of the most transformational in Carilion's history. A $500 million expansion of Roanoke Memorial Hospital will add to the emergency department and the cardiovascular institute, build a new behavioral health facility and improve parking.
On top of that, there’s a $30 million project to transform a vacant store at Tanglewood Mall into a new space for Carilion Children’s.
There’s also a new $100 million world-class cancer center to house cutting-edge research and clinical trials in the works.
Agee and her husband jumpstarted fundraising for the cancer center by donating $1 million, but, like so much of what she does, it's personal too.
"My own background is in oncology. My husband is a cancer survivor and we just felt that it was time to do something really material," Agee said.
The vision for the future goes beyond the brick and mortar. Agee said they'll continue attracting more jobs, serving more patients and transforming the region.
“Our economy's changed, this is a new era and science makes a difference," Agee said. "I think what sets us apart is our culture. If you asked me one word that would really describe our culture, it's courageous. That's interesting, but if you look at the core word of courageous, it's core or heart, the Latin word for heart. I think that says an awful lot about who we are," Agee said.
Agee said they’re starting the decade strong with determination to build a healthier region with healthier people.
“If we had a crystal ball and we could be out 10 years from now, we’d be amazed at how much more we accomplished just as we are today at how much we’ve accomplished so far,” Agee said.