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Work on new U of I Children’s Hospital to begin this fall

Diane Heldt, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –

IOWA CITY — Construction on the new University of Iowa Children’s Hospital is set to begin in October, according to an updated long-range plan for hospital expansion that will go to the state Board of Regents next week for discussion.

The plan also calls for the eventual construction of two towers that will house patient rooms. Information for next week’s regents meeting in Ames was released Tuesday.

The hospital’s long-range plan, which has shifted in the past few years, now calls for adding facilities to the west of the existing complex. The most recent financial estimate associated with the projects, from an update to the regents last year, is $1.1 billion.

The design process on the Children’s Hospital will continue through the next year, and the final design will go back to the regents for approval. The facility is slated to open in late 2015 or early 2016.

The two structures to house patient beds are not as far along in the planning stages, UI spokesman Tom Moore said, and “We have no specific time frame for those yet.”

The long-range plan also calls for razing Ramp 2 at the hospital complex and replacing it with underground parking. The Children’s Hospital and the two bed towers will be built where Ramp 2 now sits, just east of Hawkins Drive.

Many outpatient, ambulatory clinic functions are being moved to off-site locations away from the crowded hospital campus at Hawkins and Melrose Avenue. In conjunction with those efforts, all inpatient rooms are being converted to single occupancy.

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