Indiana University Health prepares for $1B transformation

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Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health is preparing for a major consolidation project, which is expected to cost $1 billion, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

The project will include a major overhaul and expansion at IU Health's 589-bed Methodist Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children, both located in Indianapolis. In addition, the project calls for closing University Hospital, which is located about 2 miles from Methodist, and consolidating clinical operations into the two expanded facilities.

Currently, health system officials are looking at which buildings on the Methodist campus should be renovated and which should be demolished. According to the report, the Methodist campus consists of a hodgepodge of buildings that were constructed decades apart. Some of these facilities even have mismatched plates and uneven ceilings.

While hospital officials have yet to publicize which buildings will be saved, the ages of the various buildings provide some clues. For example, the newest buildings, including a 10-story patient tower constructed in the 1990s, are likely to remain because they are in good shape mechanically and architecturally.

"It's very complicated to renovate an old hospital, and often not worth the effort," Timothy Frank, a partner at Artekna, an Indianapolis-based design and architecture firm specializing in healthcare, told the Indianapolis Business Journal. "Just fighting with the infrastructure is always a challenge. Trying to accommodate new technology, new equipment, new code requirements into a building of any significant age is tough. You're trying to shoehorn operations and utilities. … It becomes a spaghetti bowl."

IU officials expect to fully unveil its plan for the transformation project by the end of 2018.

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