IU Health Bloomington’s new hospital will stay within city limits, relocating to a site on Indiana University’s campus.
The move is part of an expanded partnership between the hospital and university, which will result in a combined healthcare and academic campus.
Both will be built next to the IU Technology Park, at the current location of the IU golf driving range along State Road 45/46.
The driving range will move to the current par-3 golf course. The 18-hole course won’t be impacted by the changes.
IU Spokesperson Mark Land says IU approached the hospital with the idea to build its new facility on university property. He says 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.”
Land says the regional academic health campus will allow the university to expand some of its health sciences programs. It could eventually lead to new opportunities for students.
“One of the things that we’ve never done down here is provide a dentistry clinic,” Land says. “We’re hoping that long term that’s another outcome of this. We’ll be able to expand some areas we’ve not done in Bloomington in the past.”
IU Health Bloomington Hospital announced plans for a new facility last year, citing the aging building and lack of expansion opportunities at its current location on 2nd Street.
The hospital’s board was considering several locations for the new building, including 85 acres IU Health already owns along State Road 46 near Curry Pike.
“The hospital still owns that property,” says Mark Moore, IU Health Bloomington President and CEO. “We have not turned our attention now to what the reuse or what the proposed future use will be.”
Moore says they also don’t know what will happen to the current hospital once IU Health Bloomington moves out.
Some Bloomington residents expressed concerns about the facility leaving downtown and moving off of the bus line, which many low-income patients utilize. Many worried IU Health’s move could have a negative impact on surrounding businesses and communities that rely economically on the hospital’s activity.
Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan said earlier this year that he was disappointed the hospital would likely move away from 2nd Street. But, he praised the new location of the hospital in a statement released Wednesday.
“This is a momentous day for our city and health care for the region,” Kruzan said. “This announcement solidifies where the new hospital will be built and creates even further synergies between two of our community’s largest employers.”
Moore says IU Health Bloomington is committed to working with Kruzan and other key stakeholders to determine the best future use for the building. He says a reuse committee will likely be formed to explore all possible options.
He views the hospital’s new location as a win-win for the entire community.
The site will include a new ambulatory care center, allowing the hospital to focus on the growing outpatient market. It could also become a hub for clinical research.
“There’s so many opportunities that exist today but one of the things I’m most excited about is the things we can’t envision,” Moore says. “We’re setting the stage for those who come after us and for generations to have this kind of facility, this kind of united, collaborative campus for opportunities and the continued evolution of medicine for generations to come.”
Moore says the partnership came together quickly, so many of the details still have to be worked out. Both the IU Health board and IU Board of Trustees will have to consider the proposal.
Moore says once that happens, they’ll be able to move to the implementation and design stage, which will take at least one year.
Until a design is selected, it’s unclear how much the project will cost IU Health Bloomington or IU.