- Associated Press - Monday, May 5, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana University officials are working on plans for taking over the old Wishard Hospital complex in downtown Indianapolis and converting it into a hub for health science students and researchers.

The future of the former hospital site on the edge of the IUPUI campus has been uncertain since Wishard closed in December with the opening of the new $754 million Eskenazi Hospital nearby.

The Wishard site could provide classroom paces for thousands of students from several health sciences programs, with IU’s public health and dentistry schools considering moving there, IU medical school Dean Jay Hess told the Indianapolis Business Journal (http://bit.ly/1ojjOct ).

The Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., which helps IU researchers work with businesses to bring their discoveries to market, is already looking to move to the Wishard site.

IU officials are still developing plans for a possible $200 million project at the Wishard complex, which has some buildings more than a century old. The university intends to demolish close to half of the existing complex, said John Lewis, IU’s associate vice president for capital planning and facilities.

“We are just now starting to dig into what parts of that property would make sense to reuse and what parts would be recommended for bringing down,” Lewis said.

The Wishard site is a couple blocks away from the IU medical school’s main complex and IU Health’s Riley Hospital for Children.

Hess said plans are for students and faculty members from various health-related programs to share everything from libraries to social gathering spaces at the revamped Wishard complex.

“Ultimately, it’s preparing our students for a future of health care that’s much more interdisciplinary,” he said. “The sooner these different groups become comfortable working together and understand what each other does, the better.”

IU officials are also working to attract the new Indiana Biosciences Research Institute as a tenant.

The institute launched last year as a collaboration among the state’s universities, life sciences corporations and government. Organizers have announced a goal of recruiting more than 100 scientists and researchers in the next five years.

A decision on a headquarters site for the institute will be made after organizers select a CEO, which should happen by the end of this year, said David Johnson, CEO of Indiana life sciences initiative BioCrossroads, one of the partners behind the research program.

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Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, http://www.ibj.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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