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Indiana University trustees pick downtown Evansville site for new medical school center

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BLOOMINGTON, Indiana — Indiana University's new $70 million medical school campus will be built in downtown Evansville, IU trustees decided Friday.

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously for the site during a meeting in Bloomington following a recommendation by IU President Michael McRobbie. He told a trustees committee that the downtown location would be the best of four options around Evansville for the project, which will include a new health science education and research center.

The University of Evansville, the University of Southern Indiana and Ivy Tech Community College also plan to offer programs at the center, which could draw some 2,000 health care students.

Evansville officials had pushed the location, which covers nearly six city blocks, as a key for downtown redevelopment, the Evansville Courier & Press and WFIE-TV reported.

Trustee Pat Shoulders, an Evansville attorney, said he was excited about what the center will do for his hometown.

"No great city in the world has been successful without a viable downtown," Shoulders said. "In my lifetime, I believe this is the greatest chance that downtown Evansville has to become the successful, vibrant, integral place that it truly deserves to be."

IU School of Medicine's dean, Jay Hess, also supported the location, telling trustees: "The downtown site works well for the needs of the IU School of Medicine."

The other proposals were sites at the University of Southern Indiana, in Warrick County and at the Promenade development on Evansville's far east side.

The trustees now have 60 days to open negotiations with the team that developed the downtown Evansville proposal on leases and other agreements.

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