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Meridian mayor’s want his city to become a ‘health care epicenter.” Here’s his vision

Meridian Mayor Robert Simison wants his fast-growing city to be a “health care epicenter for Idaho.”

With plans from both Idaho State University and Saint Alphonsus to expand services and health care education in the city west of Boise, Simison said now is the time to “lay out a clear framework for a medical corridor.”

Simison revealed his goals to the public in his State of the City speech on June 1.

Meridian’s health care industry is growing, Simison said. The Idaho Statesman recently found that St. Luke’s was the city’s second-largest employer, with nearly 2,000 employees.

“Much of our current, and I believe future, economy is based around health care,” Simison said in his speech. “We are seeing the health care industry become a larger driving force in our economy every day.”

Idaho State University adds health care campus

Idaho State University, which has a health science campus off Interstate 84 in Meridian, plans to expand its footprint, Simison said.

ISU purchased land near Locust Grove and I-84, next to the Idaho State Police POST academy, for a new campus. The public university will invest $5.3 million initially to get facilities started and expand health science programs, Simison said.

The university plans to have 1 million square feet of new building space for classrooms, research facilities and support environments, Simison said. The initial $5.3 million will go toward site work, testing and infrastructure, but Simison encouraged the Idaho Legislature to provide support to help fund ISU’s plans.

“My vision for Meridian includes becoming the health care epicenter for the state of Idaho for those who need care, are focused on finding the next medical breakthrough, and for the necessary education opportunities of our future providers,” Simison said.

Saint Alphonsus to build in fast-developing north Meridian

Saint Alphonsus, a large Treasure Valley health system, plans to build a new location for medical services.

Northwest Meridian is one of the city’s newest growth hot spots for commercial and business development, and Saint Al’s plans to build an outpatient center near Chinden Boulevard and Idaho Highway 16, Simison said.

As the state extends Idaho 16 through Meridian, the outpatient center will be near a new Walmart and Costco, as well as hundreds of new homes.

Simison said he wants to get ahead of these latest medical developments by reevaluating the city’s land-use plans for the areas between St. Luke’s Medical Center, at Eagle Road and I-84, and the location of the ISU medical campus on Locust Grove and I-84.

“We need to lay out a clear framework for a medical corridor in this area with land use and a road network that aligns with this vision,” Simison said.

St. Luke’s is about 2.5 miles from the planned ISU campus. The two locations are accessible along Franklin Road but also would require traveling along Eagle Road, which is a consistently congested area of the city for commuters.

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