ROANOKE, Va. - Virginia Tech and Carilion broke ground on a new biomedical research expansion building Tuesday.
The $90 million project is expected to have a huge impact in the Roanoke Valley.
The facility will be a 139,000 square-foot addition built on what is now a parking lot.
"We ran out of space. We're running out of space and decided we needed to expand our research institute, but this time, more focused," Carilion president and CEO Nancy Agee said.
Agee said they're playing to the strengths of the university and the hospital.
"Virginia Tech has a really strong program in engineering. Well, marrying engineering with clinical needs, we think we can really do some very fine work," Agee said.
The new biomedical research facility will focus on brain research, cardiovascular science, infectious diseases and immunology, metabolism and obesity issues, biomaterials and body device interfaces, and cancer.
"We will be able now to bring in even more of the best world researchers on this brain and other cancer issues, but with that we will bring in small businesses so this will be an incubator for innovative companies. New startup companies will be attached to this facility," Gov. Terry McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe said the expansion will bring huge economic benefits, not just for southwest Virginia, but for the commonwealth as a whole.
"It’s put Virginia on the map. And we should be on the map in biotech, and when you are a leader in biotech, you're going to bring in the 21st-century companies. Most of them go out to Silicon Valley to start. This is an opportunity for us now to come to Virginia," McAuliffe said.
Carilion leaders expect the expansion to create hundreds of jobs and bring thousands more students and researchers to Roanoke.
The new facility is expected to open in spring 2020.
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