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New IU hospital poses problem for cross country course



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Both men's and women's teams finished in the top-20 at the NCAA Championships this weekend.  Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

It was only a few months ago when the IU trustees approved the plan of IU Health to build a brand new, $340 million hospital and academic center by the IU golf course. 

In the light of building this 620,000 square-foot complex, including an additional 115,000 square-feet for classrooms and other instructional settings, some local residents are unhappy with the plans for the locations of the new parking lots.

Not only is the hospital being built by the IU golf course, but it is also right by the home turf of the IU cross country team.

For the hospital’s parking lot, IU Health plans to pave the southern portion of the cross country course for additional surface parking. Then, since one half of the course would be taken out, IU plans to turn the northern portion into more holes for the golf course.

In hopes of saving the cross country course that has been the home for Hoosier runners for decades, residents have started a petition asking both Indiana University and IU Health to consider other options for the lots.

The petition has received over 500 signatures in just 24 hours. With that, there is also a Facebook page titled “Friends of the IU Cross Country Course” that has over 1,100 members on it so far. 

IU graduate student Matt Flaherty, who is a professional runner, was the creator of the Facebook page.

“IU Health has the opportunity here to save the course and be a leader in preventive health,” Flaherty said in a press release from Friends of the IU Cross Country Course. “In fact, this is part of its stated mission—to make Indiana one of the healthiest states in the country. To destroy a premier preventive health resource is beyond tone deaf, it is directly counter to IU Health’s cause. We would like to work with IU and IU Health to remedy this for the good of the community.”

Flaherty and the members of the group have clearly stated they support the new location for the hospital, but prefer that IU Health build a parking garage rather than the additional parking lots.

Local business owner Tracy Gates said in the press release she was told the hospital plans are 40-percent official, so she hopes there is still time to prevent it.

The new hospital plans to open in 2020. 

Dylan Wallace

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