[UPDATE 9/1/21]: In a meeting Tuesday, the State Health Facility Council finally approved the project in a 4-1 vote, according to the Gazette. The project is scheduled to debut in 2025, but will still require additional regent approval.

[ORIGINAL] Is a University of Iowa Healthcare Facility finally coming to North Liberty?

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You've probably seen the "University of Iowa Health Care Coming Soon" sign on the corner of Highway 965 and Forevergreen Road near North Liberty (highlighted below). That's because it's been there for years. It's almost a local joke at this point. Well, now it looks like things may actually be moving forward with it.

Google Maps
Google Maps

According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, on Tuesday UIHC CEO Suresh Gunasekaran will again be pitching the State Health Facilities Council a plan for a new $230 hospital to take the place of that sign. This was previously rejected thanks to that heavy price tag, but now with a new more informative presentation, it could come to fruition.

What Are the Benefits to a new North Liberty University of Iowa Healthcare Facility?

The report states that it would be a 300,000-square-foot facility that includes 48 beds. It would house in-patient units, labs, an emergency department, a pharmacy, and provide space for surgery services, research and education, and include another wing would for clinics, faculty offices, and more. The big benefits to the new facility are that it would add to education and research programs, grow UIHC's biomedical research programs, and "expand capabilities to provide long-term, or 'tertiary,' specialized care to patients" in the area.

Below is a rendering of what the building could look like.

Iowa Press Citizen
Iowa City Press-Citizen

The point of the new facility isn't to duplicate what other area hospitals are doing, but to "expand services for the most complex patients." Gunasekaran told the Iowa City Press-Citizen that the "North Liberty location would help UIHC accept thousands of patients who attempt to transfer from other Iowa hospitals that they have had to turn away in previous years." With patients coming from all over Iowa, this could certainly help.

More healthcare facilities certainly couldn't hurt. You can read more about the proposed plan in the article here. We'll see what if this bare North Liberty land gets a hospital after all.

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