IU Health to locate new Bloomington hospital near IU campus

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Indiana University Health plans to construct a new hospital in Bloomington four or five years from now, the Indianapolis-based hospital system announced Wednesday, after striking a deal with Indiana University to build on the school's golf driving range.

The project, which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, still must win approval from the IU Health board of directors and the IU trustees. IU and IU Health are two separate organizations.

IU Health’s executives in Bloomington said in December they were considering a new hospital either in a new location or on the existing IU Health campus in downtown Bloomington. Then, in February, IU Health’s Bloomington executives said a study had found that building on the existing site was not feasible.

IU Health officials considered building on 85 acres the hospital system owns on the northwestern outskirts of Bloomington. But the IU driving range sits closer to the heart of the city, on 75 acres northeast of the IU campus and adjacent to the IU Technology Park.

IU spokesman Mark Land told WFIU-Bloomington that IU officials approached the hospital’s leaders with the idea of building the new facility on university property. He said the regional academic health center will allow IU to keep up with increasing demand for its health sciences programs.

“We turn away a lot of qualified nursing candidates every year simply because we don’t have space to put them,” Land says. “So, we need more classroom space, we need more lab space, we could use simulation space, all the things that you need to run really robust academic health programs to allow for academic research or training.”

The new hospital will likely have more than 200 inpatient beds and include an ambulatory center for outpatient procedures, according to IU Health officials.

The exact timing and cost of the project will be determined by a year-long design process, according to IU Health spokeswoman Amanda Roach.

IU Health is also mulling whether to build a hospital in downtown Indianapolis to replace its Methodist and University hospital campuses.

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