INDIANAPOLIS - Lutheran Health Network has detailed plans to replace St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne with a new medical campus. The health care system says St. Joe has been in the same downtown location since 1869. Construction could begin next year and officials say build-out could take up to two years.

A location and the full-scope of the work have not been determined, and LHN says "several potential properties are under consideration." LHN will work with stakeholders, including the hospital Board of Trustees, the city and the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission on locking down a location. Officials say no new hospital has been built "in the central city" in more than 100 years.

LHN Chief Executive Officer Mike Poore says "as Fort Wayne continues to renew and revitalize itself, LHN is also focusing on the future through the modernization of downtown healthcare. This is part of a series of major capital investments we are making to transform LHN to meet the needs of patients today and for years to come."

Plans call for a multi-story hospital, medical facilities and parking. Board Chairman Jerry Henry adds the new campus will honor the St. Joseph Hospital legacy. "A brand new, state-of-the-art medical campus in the heart of Fort Wayne will be a tremendous boon for our community, both in terms of enhancements for patients and caregivers, and for economic development. The investment we’re talking about is a concrete demonstration of commitment to Lutheran Health Network and to Fort Wayne," he said.

The goal, officials say, is to develop a new hospital that is "in the right place and is the right size for the community."