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UIHC seeks regent approval on $1.1 billion in projects

BY ARIANA WITT | JANUARY 28, 2011 7:10 AM

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Officials at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are asking for approval of numerous projects totaling more than $1.1 billion.

The state Board of Regents will review the proposals by UIHC officials during its Feb. 3 meeting. Those requests include a new medical center on the Hawkeye campus, a primary-care clinic in North Liberty, and design plans for the new Children’s Hospital.

Children’s Hospital pediatrics head Tom Scholz said the hospital renovations are part of an overall modernization of the UIHC, with the first major piece being the Children’s Hospital.

“Without this first piece, you can’t move on to the others down the road,” Scholz said. “This is a great opportunity for the entire state of Iowa.”

Plans on the near $271 million Children’s Hospital will continue without a competitive $100 million grant through the Infrastructure to Expand Access to Care Program.

“We viewed that funding as a long shot going in,” Scholz said. “But financing is airtight without the award.”

Last week, Regent Robert Downer said having the fund would have been beneficial, but he didn’t think the loss posed a major setback.

Officials at the UIHC are also considering possibly adding an additional floor to the 11-story children’s hospital tower after the Federal Aviation Administration authorized construction of the new Children’s Hospital 34 feet taller than the planned eight stories above grade portion, according to the regents.

UIHC officials will also present regents with a $14.6 million project to rebuild the Family Medicine Center.

If approved, the new facility would replace the current Family Center on the lower level of the Pomerantz Family Pavilion. The UIHC Department of Family Medicine patient care, research, and departmental offices would be relocated to the center upon completion.

The center would provide educational opportunities for UI medical students in areas such as sports medicine and geriatrics.

UIHC officials are also hoping to move forward on a December land purchase approval by the regents, seeking project planning approval for the Community-Based Primary Care Clinic in North Liberty.

The clinic would be housed on 40 acres of land at the intersection of Forevergreen Road and Highway 965, which UIHC officials acquired last December.

“The original facilities in North Liberty is exceeding its occupancy,” said UI spokesman Tom Moore. The facility built to see 25 patients daily now sees around 100, he said.

The construction of the hospital will be funded through the University Hospitals Building Usage Fund.

UIHC officials will present design plans for the new hospital as well as revised bond resolution for the project to be housed north of the Pomerantz Family Pavilion at next week’s regent meeting in Iowa City.


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