Weigh in on the new Wishard

July 17, 2009
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Check out this early rendering of a proposed replacement for Wishard Hospital. The $754-million project calls for 11 stories and about 1.2 million square feet of space. It would be built just west of the current hospital, next to the Roudebush VA Medical Center, as part of a land swap with IU. Hospital officials say renovating the current facility is not practical because mechanical systems are failing and patient rooms can't accommodate modern equipment. Wishard's facility is spread over 17 buildings, many built before World War II. The new hospital would replace the former home of Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital. The old Wishard would be used for an expansion of the IUPUI campus.

Wishard rendering
Map showing location of new Wishard Hospital
  • I don't know about the renderings. I will leave that comment to the architectual sufficianados, CorrND, Ablerock, et al.

    Seems a more that a little strange that we haven't heard the wolf cry of the hospital falling apart until they have an opportunity to tap into stimulous money. They say they won't raise our property taxes to pay for this. But, and a big but it is, whom do they think will pay back the stimulous loan. Guard your wallets carefully these days, folks.
  • C'mon now... can't we build this thing to the street? Any street? IUPUI is intentionally focusing on increasing the urbanity of its built form as it expands (as did the heart hospital). But this, with seas of parking apparently fronting both Michigan and 10th Streets, would represent a definite regression.
  • BerwickGuy... we already had it out on the IBJ NewsTalk blog about this issue. So, I'm just posting one thing on here, the link to Wishard:

    And the link back to the topic on the NewsTalk thread:
  • Andrew: Thanks for posting the News Talk link. Meant to include it. Figured the conversation here would focus more on urban planning.
  • Where are people going to park??!?!
  • Hey, I know, how about a giant Quonset Hut. Then all the people like Andrew that enjoy Wishard so much can mingle around easier.

    On second thought, just vote NO in November.
  • Cory... I guess the conversation won't.
  • Current budget is $754M but w/every month we can expect that number to grow. This project will grow in anticipated cost by 10% before it reaches the decision point and could trend in the $1T range by the time construction starts. It's been a while since I have witnessed a project completed at its suggested budget-when it did it was a timely start for the point of budget completion.
    Does anyone have any idea who was involved in the budgeting process? Local firms? Square foot numbers or real budget bidding?

    As for the comments about moving the project closer to the street-I think most of us concur that moving it back into the center of the site is a step backward from the type of planning that would be forward thinking for our city.
  • If we built a football stadium for this much money we sure as hell should support a hospital of similar cost.
  • If anyone would like to see BerwickGuy's true feelings... I suggest reading the NewsTalk thread.
  • Yes, Andrew, and they can also notice how you like to gloss over the truth and miss the main points of discussion. But, you know, the truth will always set you free. Nothing like moving the discussion off point just like me and so many others.

    Having seen other opinions, I, too, agree that having a giant parking lot facing 10th Street is unconscienable. Why in the world would planners come up with such a lame plan? Perhaps they can just attach a parking garage of about 11 stories and round it out to an even billion. Hell, make it 2.
  • Oh, and if you live in Marion County... vote YES in November.
  • BerwickGuy, on the NewsTalk thread you claim that we can all find major medical coverage for $60 a month. Can you point me to a link to such an offer? Thanks.
  • As much as I loathe them, I'd rather see surface parking lots than sprawling, squat buildings spread through out the site. At least these lots are more easily replaced with future construction than actual buildings would be...
  • Amen, MediaGrrrrl! I HAVE insurance through the company I work for and my co-pay alone is almost $60.... ($40 for my doctor, $50 for urgent care and $100 for a trip to the emergency room).
  • I wonder what will happen with the old Wishard, I hope IUPUI uses at least a portion of the older buildings and doesn't level the entire structure.
  • What is this? A hospital for ants. This building would have to at least be 3 times as big. I am also a good ugugliazer.

    Z. Lander
  • MediaGrrrrl:

    Thanks for the question, however what I implied was that College Students can get these plans for that amount. The coverage can be kept through age 30. One must enroll while a full time student but doesn't have to stay in school to keep the plan. Link attached:


    There are many other options available.
  • Love the idea. We need to support our community by providing health care for anyone that requires it - in a hospital with quality facilities!!
  • it is good to see places like this are able to invest in expansions. I know some like it, and some don't, but lets drop the BS and realize that this means Jobs. Construction jobs.

    people complain when there are no jobs, they complain when there is construction....
  • Random,

    When private concerns propose building projects, they have to justify them through acceptable accounting standards focusing on the profit/loss concerns. That is the crux of America's Incentive System.

    Unfortunately, it got lost years ago with the Government borrowing and taxing beyond reasonable limits. If this project goes ahead, it will use the stimulous dollars and then provide a future black eye for taxpayers. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be drawn into that sinkhole. Remember Ross Perot's Giant Sucking Sound? Boy, has that grown true today.
  • I suspect this is master-planned to allow for future expansion northward. Bad idea. Scoot the hospital buildings all north and plan the expansion southward. Scoot the parking garage west to the property line, then north alongside the hospital.

    And finally...look! There's the Fall Creek Trail's Beurt SerVaas Bridge, right there in the front yard. How about doing something to respect the trail, like a direct crossing and trail extension through the campus to the Michigan & New York bike lanes. This, instead of another parking lot.
  • Bravo, Thundermutt! At least if this thing is built, we would have something to cheer about! Great idea.
  • I have studied property taxes for a long time, about thirty years and I can say without a doubt we, the taxpayers will end up pating for this. I have just completed a study of all the other hospitals in Marion County and they are; Methodist, St Vincents, St Francis and Community. Combined the all are exempt from property taxes to the tune of $542 million and they are exempt from property taxes with a total exemption of $13.2 million. Now we are going to pay for another tax exempt hospital who again won't pay property taxes. If they are doing so great then why did they apply for General Obligation Bonds (Taxpayer backed)? Why did they try and sneak it passed the General Assembly? I have heard the old story, if we don't get this babies will dieand all that stuff before and 99 out of a hundred times the bad stuff NEVER happens. With the economy in such bad shape we should fire them for even suggesting this mess. My vote will be NO.
  • Are you even old enough to vote carlfire? I only ask because your post is about as well reasoned as something my 15 year old brother would come up with. No offense or anything, but the idea that babies will die and all that stuff actually matter to some people... lol. Geez... Go ahead and vote no, I'm voting YES.
  • I'm pretty sure IUPUI is exempt from property taxes so it won't change the properties that are exempt from propety taxes at all...now if they were to take property through iminent domain then land would come off the tax roles.
  • It is another boondoggle that will enrich some lawyers and construction companies, while further sinking the finances of Indianapolis / Marion County into the abyss.
  • I really don't know why people are so sure that property taxes will be raised to pay for this. Wishard gets about 5% of its revenue from property taxes, so it's not like they don't have a way to pay off the bonds.

    On topic though, the design really needs to be improved. I like Thundermutt's idea.
  • These are not renderings of a completed building complex. These are spatial studies
    indicating use proximity's and alloted square feet.
    There is nothing to critique aesthetically here. Its just a massing diagram.
  • The parking lot on 10th is unattractive. In defense of the plan they want to keep the core centrally located as best possible anticipating multiple expansions. One major problem with the hospital now is the wards, ER, and operating rooms are not centrally located. Pulling the hospital back off 10th is not a 'bad idea' but rather an unfortunate consequence of good modern hospital design. I suspect placing the ancillary buildings at 10th and Elwood with room to expand West would achieve good urban and good hospital design standards. The core must have room to expand on multiple sides, especially if there is intention for a 50+ year horizon for this facility.
  • CALFIRE: Expand the horizon past the accounting sheet. If you can understand the issues facing hospital finance and appropriation of property tax you can understand the need for well functioning county/city hospitals. Become informed on the benefit of these institutions to those who never recieve care in them. It's nothing dramatic such as babies dying that makes the arguement for these institutions solid (though infant mortality would rise some in Indianapolis without Wishard.)

    After years with out health care for the poor, other problems begin to spread into society affecting all of us. Parents who die prematurely from diabetes, coronary disease, and infections leave behind children who are absorbed into foster homes and group homes. This predicts increased incarcerations, violence, and drug abuse. Additionally, not treating tuberculosis, providing flu-shots, and treating infectious diarrhea (Shigella) in children places all at serious health risks. These ARE community diseases that can spread very rapidly in places like schools, at work, and in shopping malls. Wishard prevents these epidemics in Marion county. Without a county hospital treating those with severe mental illness, the number of men and women walking the street with drug problems and a propensity for violence against anyone increases. You do not want to live in a city without a well-functioning county hospital. The best reason to offer good criticism but ultimately to support the institution is all that stuff does not happen because Wishard (and the other hospitals through charitable work) prevent it before it hits your doorstep.
  • A new Wishard Hosptial is very much needed for the community. This facility will contine to provide better healthcare for the city's less fortunate citizens. After visiting the existing facility you realize how much a new facility is really needed. The magnitude of this project will also provide hundreds of jobs for architects, engineers and contractors at a time where they are really needed. This project will also add and retain medical related jobs and create a new state of the art medical facility. So please vote yes in November to support this project.
  • RE: crownhilldigger
    The budgets were developed by Jacobs Engineering. No Indianapolis firms have been involved to date. It should be interesting to see how Mr. Gutwein plans to sell the taxpayers of Indianapolis on spending 3/4 of a billion in tax money with a Pasadena-headquartered firm... What was that you were saying about a giant sucking sound?
  • I'm sorry Billy-what were you saying?

    ...there is this giant sucking sound that is making it hard to hear....
  • Where are the plans for renewable energy in this design? Solar Panels on the roofs and parking garages, Wind Energy, Leed certification? A purchase power agreement with a solar system will freeze electric costs for 20 years and there is no up-front system cost to Wishard and maintenance is paid for by investors. Do you want to reduce health-care costs? Well one of many steps is to manage the utility costs of these building and focus on reducing carbon footprint. I think it is unconscionable to build a $750 million complex and not have renewable energy as a major focus. Go ahead, build this building with no thought to sustainability and then wait for 40 years until the useful life of this building is over and let the next generation worry about it. Sorry to be so cynical, but we need leaders to step up and take the big steps and commit to change in the way we think about major complex construction and architecture to incorporate the maximum sustainable design? How can you walk away from a free solar system using a purchase power agreement? What is the downside?
  • Good point, DowntownIndyFan:

    There's always so much distaste thrown at Big Oil and Big Drug, but where is the leadership in the medical community??? One of the posters said he welcomed a state-of-the-art medical facility. Hardly! Looks like more of teh same o, some o to me.
  • DTINDYFAN: Great idea. Incorporating energy efficient design will save tax payers millions if not billions over the life of this building. The current facility is so poorly designed and out dated, much energy is wasted in heating drafty leaky cooridors leftover from the very late 19th century.

    The important thing with the new design is SUSTAINABILITY. The building will be very advanced in design for the time, but most likely built with an eye towards the next 50 years. The hospital as it stands will struggle to meet many needs over the next 10 years. It's an enormous cost upfront but longterm prespective argues this project has benefits on many fronts aside from basic public health (that still being the most important.) Still I would be interested to see where the budget could be trimmed. Some of the cost involves leveling the old Larue Carter Mental Hospital which contains asbestos - reason being why it has sat vacant for so many years.
  • Some hospitals are trying to better integrate with their environment in order to better offer housing to potential employees. This is very typically just a building in a lot (hospitals, malls, office parks, etc...)

    I don't understand this type of planning. You often end up with the same product you would have had with no planning studies conducted. The same thing happens when civil firms do master planning of sites and neighborhoods. The result looks the same as if there had been no planning stage.
  • Yeah...here's a thought for an urban hospital: build it so that it can expand UP in the future, both on top of the first phase and on top of the parking deck. Then cover some more of the surface parking with structured parking. No new footprint needed.
  • As an Wishard patient I must say - those who don't know should look and listen before speaking. Wishard has been discussing the need for a new facility for more than 10 years -this isn't a new concept brought on by stimulus money. The building is difficult to maintain and rennovations are nearly impossible. It is always a gamble as to which pipe will burst next and forget about the heating and air conditioning of some parts of the structure. What I am amazed at is the number of individuals that have no concept of the important work that Wishard does for the community. A burn center that is one of the top in the nation, a level one trauma center with staff that compares to anything anywhere else in the USA. Quality healthcare for individuals who are either uninsured or underinsured and for individuals like me who are insured and choose to go to Wishard because of the outstanding healthcare I receive. Wishard provides more charity care than any and I mean any other hospital in this community. Do you really think that uninsured and underinsured patients don't deserve the same quality facilities that patients get at Clarian North, Clarian West, St. Vincent's or Community hospitals? I don't think Wishard is planning to have fountains in the lobbies, mable statues and the likes - I think that Wishard administrator, faculty, staff and patients simply want a building that provides quality equipment and quality rooms to match the quality care. Anyone who thinks Wishard doesn't need a new building should call and ask for a tour of their current building and get a reality check and then vote YES to a new Wishard!
  • The Indianapolis Roudebush VA hospital built vertically back in 2005 and I suspect we will see more on medical campuses as space becomes an issue. I doubt building up would satisfy all expansion needs over a 50 to 70 year time frame. Refer to my idea for moving ancillary offices up toward 10th still allowing ample room to expand west, north, and south.
  • I have been reviewing this blog for several days now and I think it is great to have such an open dialogue over the pros and cons of this new facility. We are all cautious of anything that would raise our taxes, myself included. As far as the plans shown, it was said before, that this is an early massing model that doesn't represent design. I am sure that the new design is going to incorporate sustainable architecture and maybe even LEED incorporation... it takes time for that sore of information to be released to the public. We never are told the most up to date information about anything. So we will just have to keep watch for those type of details.
    Many local firms ARE involved in the design, management and future construction of this new hopsital. These are much needed jobs and will support our local economy. This new facility will undoubtedly continue to increase the image of our city and the quality of life for those who live in it. Please see this site for alot of really great information which might help explain Wishard's finances, plans and needs.


    Please vote yes to keep this project alive in our city.
  • The city's less fortunate citizens deserve and require care. However, my many trips to see what goes on at Wishard has left me in a quandry. I suspect we have to many ILLEGALS using the facility. While I'm not insensitive to the situation, I do have limits on just giving away money. I have sent more than my share of Emails to people at the STAR requesting that they start publishing photos of the waiting room. No answer and no published photos. If Wishard continues to provide care to ILLEGALS, then we citizens providing the money at least deserve to demand that all ILLEGAL suspects prove their legality to be in this country. We should at least have an idea about what we are up against. sester
  • Concerns about he new Wishard facility
    Why is Wishard not getting competitive bids on services for this new facility? This was voted on and approved by Marion County taxpayers. Wishard should be accountable to the voters that approved this project.

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............