Largo Town Center will be the site of a new regional medical center for Prince George's County, members of the Dimensions Healthcare System Board of Directors announced Thursday, Aug. 22.

The board chose the spot based on Largo's accessibility, central location in the county, size, reasonable site development costs and future development potential.

"These are all very positive developments for Laurel, Prince George's County and all of Southern Maryland," Dimensions chairman C. Philip Nichols Jr. said in an email Monday. "The regional medical center will become the southern hub for quality, comprehensive healthcare serving all of Prince George's County and Southern Maryland."

Groundbreaking for the new medical center, part of the Dimensions system that includes Laurel Regional Hospital, is projected to occur in 2015. The center would be operational by 2017.

The new hospital's price tag is $645 million. It will hold about 280 beds.

In a statement Thursday, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said Maryland will provide $200 million from its capital budget toward the hospital's construction.

"Three years ago, we committed to work together to bring a world-class, regional medical center to Prince George's County. Today, we take an important step forward towards making that goal a reality," he said.

Nichols said the new medical center will bring Laurel Regional and the other Dimensions hospitals "closer to our goal of joining the University of Maryland Medical System." UMMS physicians currently manage the emergency rooms at all three Dimensions hospitals.

"We are also working with the UMMS to strengthen our orthopedics and heart programs, from which Laurel will benefit," Nichols said.

He said the board hopes to incorporate UMMS interns and residents into the hospitals' programs. The new medical center will have space reserved for academic and research purposes, which could eventually lead to a medical school at the center in Largo.

"The national and local shortage of doctors demands no less from policy makers but to make this center happen," Nichols said.