ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – The next big step in IU Health’s move into the Fort Wayne market has been made as the medical group has closed on about 135 acres near I-69.

IU Health Fort Wayne President Brian Bauer confirmed the purchase Thursday, but did not offer many specifics of what the land could be used for.

“There’s a lot of room,” Bauer said. “We’re excited to work with our partners and physicians and our team members to figure out what’s best for patients in Fort Wayne.”

WANE 15 has learned the land is northwest of the intersection of Airport Expressway and I-69.

When asked, Bauer did not deny the possibility of the construction of a new hospital.

“We’ve said all along that we’re going to provide access to great physicians, we’re doing that,” Bauer added. “The next step was to provide access to more ambulatory care… we’re doing that. Hopefully that’s going to lead to the next step which would be acute care for patients in Fort Wayne.”

Bauer, along with IU Health Fort Wayne leaders and board members, broke ground Thursday morning on a surgery center at the intersection of Aboite Center and Dicke Roads.

When it opens in early 2021, it is expected to include operating and procedure rooms for more than 10 different specialties.

From Lutheran to IU, competition is healthy

The new surgical center is being built across the street from the Lutheran Health campus, the Bauer’s former employer. The former Lutheran CEO told WANE 15 he thinks competition between IU, Lutheran and Parkview can be good for Fort Wayne.

IU moves into market one step at a time