An overwhelming majority of Marion County voters approved for Wishard Memorial Hospital to build a new $754 million facility in today’s special elections. Passing the referendum allows the Indianapolis health care facility to begin construction for a new downtown campus that will be located just west of IUPUI, near Indiana University Hospital.
More than 32,000 of today’s approximately 39,000 Hoosier voters approved the hospital question. According to hospital officials, the approval of this referendum came just in time. Under current conditions, Wishard may have been forced to close its doors as early as next year. The current buildings are no longer efficient and safe for today’s technological and scientific advances.
The new 1.2 million-square-foot facility will be the cure to so many maintenance and technology issues faced by the hospital in recent years. As one of the oldest hospitals in Indianapolis, Wishard has been operating some buildings on its campus for more than 95 years.
This expensive project will not be funded directly by taxpayers, as hospital spokespeople assured, Hoosiers will see no tax increase for the new facility. Instead, the new plan will be backed by Indiana taxpayer bonds. This means that taxpayers are guaranteeing bonds that Wishard wishes to sell, gaining the hospital better interest rates for the rebuilding project.
The risk of losing one of Indiana’s largest safety-net hospitals is what motivated Hoosiers to come together. Citizens for Wishard is a group of health care providers, Indianapolis educators, community leaders, patients, Indianapolis business leaders and many other Wishard Memorial Hospital supporters. Tonight, they are celebrating.