Nearly $50M in state funds sought for medical campus

Officials from three public universities are seeking almost $50 million in state funding toward building a shared medical school campus in downtown Evansville.

Indiana University, the University of Southern Indiana and Ivy Tech Community College are submitting requests for their portions of the campus that would cover about six city blocks.

The funding request to legislators is greater than the $35 million originally planned, as Ivy Tech and Southern Indiana officials want more space in the complex, said Thomas Morrison, IU's vice president for capital planning and facilities.

"The General Assembly will ultimately determine the amount of appropriation for this project and we will scale the project accordingly," Morrison told the Evansville Courier & Press.

IU, which is leading planning efforts for the campus, is requesting $19.2 million, while Ivy Tech is seeking $22.9 million and Southern Indiana's request is for $7.3 million. The private University of Evansville is also planning to offer programs at the center, which could draw some 2,000 health care students.

IU plans to move its Evansville regional medical school from Southern Indiana's campus to the new complex. Southern Indiana would offer occupational therapy and health informatics programs, while the University of Evansville plans to offer classes in physical therapy and in its physicians' assistant program. Ivy Tech will conduct courses in health sciences and nursing.

The project is unique because the four schools are partnering on a neutral site, said Jeff Terp, Ivy Tech's chief operating officer.

"We considered the Evansville medical center a really critical capital request," Terp said.

If funding for the project is approved for the new state budget that takes effect in July, construction could begin in October, with the complex completed by January 2017.

The Evansville City Council in May approved $57 million in incentives for the medical campus, including money toward construction costs, parking and other infrastructure needs.

The campus would have a five-story tower connected to a two-story wing and include research and teaching labs and a simulation center, according to IU's state budget request.

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