Budget for new U. Iowa children's hospital balloons to $360M

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The estimated cost of the new University of Iowa children's hospital has ballooned to $360 million as a result of design changes and construction delays.

University officials are asking the Iowa Board of Regents to increase the project budget by $69 million, from the $291 million approved in 2012.

Contractors are building the state-of-the-art 14-story building across from Kinnick Stadium.

Hospital officials say they need to spend tens of millions more than originally envisioned to make key safety improvements and design changes to improve the patient experience. They say the competitive labor market for construction workers in eastern Iowa is also resulting in "project delays and cost increases."

The hospital is now expected to open in December 2016. It's being funded through a mix of bonds, patient revenue and donations.

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