Community leaders celebrate the birth of The New Wishard - Eskenazi Health

Community leaders reaffirmed the profound role of Wishard and its connection to Marion County as they joined Wishard officials and an estimated crowd of nearly 300 for The New Wishard groundbreaking on Wednesday.

“This is a moment that truly defines our city and our community,” said Indianapolis Mayor Gregory A. Ballard. “In this moment, we affirm our city’s most cherished values: we recognize health care and compassion for all as priorities in Indianapolis, we recognize health education and life sciences research as avenues for economic development and growth, we recognize first-rate burn and trauma care as integral to the health of the community, we recognize diversity and equal opportunities for competition as central to doing good business, and we recognize the substantial impact we can have by creating a climate in Indianapolis that is conducive to creating jobs and economic opportunity for all.”

With more than 60 officials and community members lined up along a row of dirt and grasping ceremonial shovels, Mayor Ballard led in turning over a scoop of soil. With that, excavating machines engaged their loud engines and began tearing into the hole behind the fence where The New Wishard will stand in less than four years.

"We could not be more grateful to the Indianapolis community for making this day possible, and to Central Indiana’s most thoughtful leaders for their support last summer, and for joining us here today,” said Matthew Gutwein, president and CEO of Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, which operates Wishard. “The New Wishard is for the people of Indianapolis, and we look forward to sharing continued progress with all of you over the next three and a half years.”

The groundbreaking event also served to launch a redesigned that will feature news and more details of the project as well as a project webcam for the people of Indianapolis to view the construction as it progresses.

“Today we break ground on the beginning of a new existence, in new facilities, to advance our mission to advocate, care, teach and serve,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and medical director at Wishard. “And in 2013 we’ll carry the life-saving skills, the unyielding compassion and the commitment to community health and vitality out of our old buildings, down 10th Street, and through the doors of The New Wishard – a new hospital for all of Indianapolis.” 

“This is great moment for the people of Indianapolis and Marion County,” said State Representative Gregory Porter. “In terms of job creation, of advancing economic development and raising the profile of this city, The New Wishard sets a proud example, and above all, it raises the quality and availability of health care for the people of our community, regardless of income or ability to pay.”

Ballard and Porter delivered remarks at the groundbreaking, as did Gutwein and Harris, State Representative Bill Crawford, City-County Councillor Barbara Malone, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, IU School of Medicine Dean D. Craig Brater, Health and Hospital Corporation Board Chairman Dr. James Miner and Marion County Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine.

“This is a milestone that we’re going to look back on for years to come as a defining moment, a shining moment, for our Indianapolis community,” said Rep. Crawford. “Our city has come together like never before – from every corner and every nook – to support this one-of-a-kind hospital in a once-in-a-lifetime endeavor to build new facilities for The New Wishard – a new hospital for all of Indianapolis.”
Deborah Daniels of Krieg Devault and John Thompson of Thompson Distribution, who are co-chairs of The New Wishard capital campaign, also participated in the turning of dirt and spoke of project’s importance, as did Brian Payne, president of the Indianapolis Foundation and the Central Indiana Community Foundation, Rev. Richard E. Willoughby, President of the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis and Senior Pastor at Promise Land Christian Community Church and Fifth Third Bank Senior Vice President Kevin Hipskind, who experienced first-hand Wishard’s life-saving impact when he was severely burned in an accident at his northside home.

“It’s pretty telling that just six months after the historic election, where voters overwhelmingly approved a new Wishard, we’re breaking ground ceremoniously outside the site fence here while thousands of hours of work have already been done inside the fence,” said Councillor Malone, chair of the Municipal Corporations Committee. “It’s a testament to the efficiency and responsibility we demand from our municipal corporations and a clear sign that Indianapolis is hard at work.”

Much the same as the historic level of support for The New Wishard project leading up to the Nov. 3, 2009 referendum election – in which an overwhelming 85 percent of Marion County voters approved the new facilities – the groundbreaking featured leaders from across the spectrum of the Indianapolis community, including those in higher education, the medical and life sciences communities, philanthropy, business and commerce, community services and the faith-based community.

“For 101 years, Wishard and the Indiana University School of Medicine have been the closest of partners,” said McRobbie. “It’s a great joy to take part in this evolution, one that promises a great future for Indiana University, Wishard and the people of this community." 
Roughly half of Indiana’s doctors receive training at the IU School of Medicine and Wishard, while 99 percent of Wishard physicians are members of the IU School of Medicine faculty.
“For our students and faculty, Wishard’s value is immeasurable and the experience gained there is irreplaceable,” said Brater. “Experience at Wishard makes people better doctors, and in The New Wishard, we have an assurance that this great resource will be available for years to come.”

The New Wishard will open at the end of 2013 with a 315-bed inpatient hospital, a 200-bed outpatient clinic, a 2,400-car parking garage, a 90-bed treatment room emergency department, a women’s health clinic, a central energy plant and offices for faculty, research and administration functions.

The New Wishard will also pursue third-party verified environmental sustainability through Silver certification, the third-highest level on the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating scale. Accomplishing the feat would make Wishard one of only 10 newly constructed hospitals in America to achieve LEED® certification at the level of Silver or higher, and the only one of its kind in Indiana.

The project to construct a new Wishard will create 4,400 jobs and will transform the landscape of health care in Indianapolis.

Marion County voters approved construction of a new Wishard in the Nov. 3, 2009 election, with 85 percent support for the measure, and Wishard began work immediately. Wishard plans to complete the new facility at the end 2013.

To learn more about the construction project, visit For more information about Wishard Health Services, visit

Contact: Todd Harper
Phone: (317) 630-7808
Pager:  (317) 310-5972

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