North Liberty’s wait for top-notch healthcare is nearly over.
The University of Iowa Health Care system’s latest hospital is more than 50 percent complete and on schedule to open in 2025, providing much-needed healthcare access to an expanding market.
The more than $525 million facility sits on 60 acres at the corner of Forevergreen Road and Highway 965 in North Liberty, providing access from I-80 and I-380.
The campus will feature 84 clinic exam rooms, 12 operating rooms, 14 emergency care rooms, two procedure rooms and 36 inpatient beds, plus a unique indoor and outdoor physical therapy space. The facility is a key aspect of the university’s 10-year master plan.
An all-encompassing plan
The North Liberty hospital will be the state’s only comprehensive academic health center when it opens in 2025, including clinic space and teaching and research facilities.
“The North Liberty campus will be a shining example of academic medicine at its best, advancing health care across the state and beyond,” Denise Jamieson said in a release. “These state-of-the-art facilities will allow us to achieve excellence in all parts of our mission: research, education, clinical care, and service to the community.”
The hospital will provide more convenient access to emergency care, plus additional accessibility to amenities like a drive-thru pharmacy. Imaging and lab work will also be available to residents whether or not their appointment or procedure is conducted through UI Health Care.
The new facility will also house most of the university’s orthopedic and sports medicine departments, currently located on the Iowa City campus. The new hospital and adjacent clinic space will also enhance accessibility for patients with mobility issues, UI Hospitals and Clinics said in a release.
Construction remains on track
The university broke ground in North Liberty in October 2021, with the building’s exterior on pace to finish by the end of this year.
Construction was not without controversy, however, with Iowa’s Health Facilities Council denying an initial proposal in February 2021. The council said there wasn’t a need for healthcare expansion in the area, noting a new hospital threatened business for Mercy Iowa City, Mercy Cedar Rapids and UnityPoint Health.
More:University of Iowa Hospitals gets approval for $230 million North Liberty facility
The new facility was eventually greenlit a few months later, in August 2021, by a vote of 4-1, with UIHC taking a slightly different approach. The university said the North Liberty campus would provide unique care at the state level.
The Press-Citizen reported that capacity remains an issue within the University of Iowa network, with more than 2,000 patient transfers being denied care. The North Liberty facility and additional projects, like the construction of a $70 million patient tower near Kinnick Stadium, aim to increase capacity and efficiency.
More:Iowa Board of Regents OKs 33% budget increase for construction of UIHC North Liberty hospital
The project’s cost grew as well, with UIHC initially gaining approval for a $230 million facility, before the budget increased to roughly $400 million, and then skyrocketed to nearly $525 million, a 33% increase.
Ryan Hansen covers local government and crime for the Press-Citizen. He can be reached at[email protected] or on X, formerly known as Twitter, @ryanhansen01.