Virginia Tech expanding medical research opportunities in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute is expanding its footprint in the Roanoke Valley.

"It's a very exciting day it's like bringing a new child into the family," said Michael Friedlander, Director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

That new child is the brainchild of the VTC: a plan for a new, ultra-modern research and education hub.

“Virtually every college from Virginia Tech will be involved at some level with this collaboration with Carilion," he said.

Friedlander said the VTC has been running out of space. The new, $89.8 million building will house classrooms and labs to study biomaterials, brain health, heart health, infectious diseases and obesity among others.

“Bringing all these people together to solve common problems with different groups of patients and subjects enables us to take an approach that is really not realized virtually any place else in the country,” said the director.

It's a newly finalized plan to keep building on top of success - in the most literal sense. The new research building will be built on top of the current parking lot which is the central hub of the VTC buildings. They say they're going to build additional parking before they even start breaking ground on the new building.

VTC expects to double staff size and add hundreds more students.

Carilion's CEO Nancy Howell Agee said Wednesday local infrastructure will rise to meet the new demands.

Plus, they expect top notch researchers to come - bringing with them top-dollar federal grants.

"But I see this step as the next step not the final step,” she said. “So one day I see many more buildings in this area all related to academics, to research and in particular to clinical care."

According to a press release from Virginia Tech, the building is expected to be about 139,000-square-feet. They expect to be up and running by 2020.

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