Make your home page

New downtown hospital’s price tag rises above $4B, IU Health says

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The cost of IU Health’s new downtown Indianapolis hospital complex now exceeds $4 billion, the health and hospital group announced Monday.

The price is a 60% increase from the original estimate. IU Health said the higher price tag is due to rising construction costs and a major increase in patient rooms, from 672 to 864.

Construction is underway for the new downtown hospital, but the plans have been changed to allow more inpatient rooms after considering the area’s need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The original plans for the 16-story hospital included eight floors on the main podium level and eight floors in the three towers; now there will be seven floors on the main level and nine floors of patient rooms in the towers.

Nick Wojciechowski, the IU Health vice president of project planning and operations, said Monday, “We still have the flexibility, even with the work that’s going on out there right now, to shift that to nine levels of tower and seven levels of podium, and that’s how we were able to accommodate the additional inpatient beds.”

The new plan allows for the first seven floors to hold the emergency department, outpatient services, and the procedural and operating rooms. The upper nine levels will hold the patient rooms.

“For the past 25 years, it has been forecasted that the demand for inpatient care across the country was going to decrease,” Wojciechowski said. “It has never quite materialized as much as those forecasts suggested.”

The original plan for this new hospital followed that prediction, and reduced inpatient capacity, but when the pandemic changed the numbers the hospital reworked the plans.

“We realized there is actually growing demand for inpatient care here, particularly critical care,” Wojciechowski said.

The increase in cost was also due to the additional individual patient rooms.

“The inflation we’ve been seeing across the economy, in general, in particular in the construction industry, in particular, the health care construction industry, because what we build is more high-tech.”

The hospital, which would combine IU Health Methodist Hospital with University Hospital, is projected to open in October 2027 at the earliest.

Hospital leadership is considering what to do with the old buildings.

University Hospital is on IUPUI land, but the building is owned by the hospital. The two groups will decide the future of it together.