INDIANAPOLIS — A significant project in downtown Indianapolis is expanding in scale, increasing its scope and cost.

On Monday, Indiana University Health said the board of directors approved funding to upsize its downtown Indianapolis project. The update comes as IU health is working to reflect a need for more acute-care capacity.

The downtown Indianapolis medical campus will combine operations of IU Health Methodist and University hospitals on a 44-acre footprint when it opens. IU Health says this will help them save $50 million a year in operating costs by eliminating duplication of many services.

To address the need for more acute-care capacity, IU Health says the board of directors approved an upsize in the scale of the hospital. 864 private patient beds are planned for the hospital, up from the previously planned 672.

This increase in patient beds will bring the height of the hospital’s three bed towers to 16 stories, the upper range in the city-approved design plan.

The COVID-19 pandemic also has shown how deeply the state relies on IU Health, as Indiana’s largest hospital system, to supply the acute-care capacity to respond to large-scale medical emergencies.

IU Health

With the upsized capacity and rising construction costs, IU Health says the project will now cost around $4.29 billion, an increase of 60% over previous estimates. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports this would likely place the project among the most expensive capital projects in recent Indiana history.

IBJ reports the new cost estimate does not include the cost of demolishing or renovating part of Methodist Hospital.

IU Health says that because of the expanded plans, the opening was pushed to the fourth quarter of 2027, roughly a year after the previously announced opening date.

People can follow the process of the project on IU Health’s website.