By Kirk White, assistant vice president for strategic partnerships, Indiana University
This week’s groundbreaking ceremony presents an opportunity to focus on the future of health care, medical education and the potential for economic growth in south-central Indiana associated with the IU Health Regional Academic Health Center project on the IU Bloomington campus.
In the short term, the project will employ hundreds of design, crafts and industrial workers to build the $340 million complex. Suppliers will provide materials and equipment for the largest Bloomington building project in decades. Local firms are anxious to get started and put their team members to work.
In the coming years, the Regional Academic Health Center will be the new home for several Indiana University academic departments, including medicine, nursing, social work, and speech and hearing. These departments complement IU’s technology services department, which is already in the technology park. I expect the combination of teaching, clinical care and research will result in the attraction of health care-related technology firms that endeavor to partner with IU researchers and students in the quest to develop new products, resulting in new business and employment opportunities.
Finally, the relocation of the hospital to the new site allows the community to begin a visioning process and determine the best uses for the existing hospital site on Second Street. This could not come at a better time, as city leaders are searching for alternatives to high-density housing and business in the downtown core. Reuse of the Second Street site will allow continued development of the central city for continued economic growth. It’s an exciting day for Bloomington!
More information about the Jan. 16 groundbreaking is available online.