In the most lopsided referendum election result in Indianapolis history, voters of Indianapolis/Marion County overwhelmingly approved the Wishard Hospital Referendum.
So far with 55.4% of the vote counted, 33,495 voted for the referendum, while 6,811 voted no; or 81.7% to 16.6%. The five-to-one landslide vote will provide for the construction of a new, modern and efficient Wishard Hospital on the campus of IUPUI continuing the 150-year tradition of caring for the people of central Indiana.
“The referendum results confirm our city’s commitment to ensuring that all our residents have access to high quality health care,” said Matthew Gutwein, Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County CEO. “A historic coalition came together to support Wishard. We are deeply appreciative of their leadership in supporting this project, and to the voters, who offered the most resounding confirmation with each of their sacred ballots, we offer heartfelt thanks.”
The overwhelming approval of the Wishard Referendum also insures a positive future for Wishard’s over 4,000 employees. The project will generate some 4,400 construction jobs annually, providing a much-needed shot in the arm to the building trades industry.
“We’re enormously grateful for the support, trust and confidence Marion County voters have placed in Wishard today,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Wishard Health Services. “We have shown the failings of our deteriorating facility at more than 200 community gatherings over the past several months, we have answered every question along the way, and we are excited to see this day – and this referendum – come to pass.”
One other referendum question in Marion County was approved Tuesday. A proposal to preserve programs and services in the Beech Grove School District was approved 2,351 to 1,383; 58.8% to 36.6%.
Another referendum to keep from cutting millions out of the Franklin Township Schools budget was overwhelmingly defeated by two-to-one margins.
In Perry Township a proposal to spend nearly $90 million to refurbish aging school building was narrowly defeated by 174 votes; with 48.1% voting yes but 50.3% voting no.
The Wishard referendum won by landslide margins in every township and virtually every Indianapolis neighborhood. An early analysis of the voting from African-American majority precincts show virtually unanimous support for the Wishard effort.
The new Wishard Hospital is scheduled to be completed in 2013. A new facility will allow Wishard to maintain one of two Adult Level I Trauma Centers, the busiest emergency department, and the largest burn center in Indiana, as well as its role as the leading educator of future medical professionals. A new Wishard Hospital also extends Marion County’s safety net well into the 21st century.