It's Official: New Brack at Center of Master Plan

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A new medical campus master plan (PDF) that pinpoints where the new University Medical Center Brackenridge is to be built was approved by The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

The new Brack will be situated directly across 15th Street from the current hospital’s parking garage. Its footprint will cover part of Red River Street, which currently curves to the west after passing the Frank Erwin Center. Red River is to be realigned to the east so it is straight and aligns with the emergency entrance to the current hospital.

Seton Healthcare Family President Jesús Garza joined UT Austin President Bill Powers, Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and others at a news conference right after the Board of Regents vote May 9. Garza thanked the university and the UT system for its vision and commitment.

“We are excited that our partnership with UT Austin and the UT System will offer resident physicians world-class training and research opportunities,” Garza said. “We are grateful to Central Health for sharing our vision that every person in Central Texas deserves the best available health care.

“And I can tell you that Seton associates are eager to offer a level of care that Central Texas has not seen before,” he added. “We are lucky to be in a community like Austin – we have the talent, the resources and the shear force of will to create these visionary endeavors.”

Construction of the new Dell Medical School near the new Brack will bring focus to the university’s diverse biomedical research as it helps transform community health care, Powers told regents.

Powers proposed a $334 million plan to construct research, educational and administrative facilities, as well as a medical office building and parking garage totaling 515,000 square feet.

The campus would be built on land bounded by Interstate 35, Trinity Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 15th Street. A research facility would be built adjacent to the new hospital, which will be constructed by Seton with the land under it owned by Central Health.

Implementation of the plan would not require removal of the Erwin Center, but it would require the replacement of the Penick-Allison Tennis Center. The university's Athletics Department will manage the relocation of the facility.

“The site plan for this project joins together the best in academic and community resources, and I’m very proud of the Board of Regents’ leadership in bringing this medical school to fruition,” Powell said. “We are very excited because establishing a medical school on the campus of UT Austin is one more step to catapulting the university to even greater success, putting it in competition to be the finest public university in the nation.”

The Dell Medical School will be the fifth medical school in the UT System and the first medical school built in nearly four decades by a member of the Association of American Universities, an organization of leading public and private research universities.

“The new medical school campus will be part of our academic campus, and this will be a powerful connection,” Powers said. “Our medical students will be walking distance from some of the most innovative research in the world — not only in medicine but in pharmacy, chemistry, medical business systems and biomedical engineering. They will be learning shoulder-to-shoulder with the other professionals who will be on their teams in the hospitals and clinics — nurses, social workers and pharmacists — as they treat patients. This will be a great place to learn transformative medicine."

Cigarroa said the new medical school will support breakthrough biomedical research that will improve health care for the people of Central Texas and throughout the world.

“The UT Austin school of medicine was a key piece of the UT System’s Framework for Advancing Excellence, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Regents as part of our strategy to make UT Austin America’s finest university,” he said. “We also are moving forward with full momentum to establish a medical school in the Rio Grande Valley, and together, these two medical schools will have a transformational impact on health care in Texas.”

The medical campus is part of a plan approved by Travis County voters in November 2012 that provided $35 million in local funding for medical services to the uninsured, filling a funding gap for ongoing medical school operations.

UT Austin its partners will begin detailed engineering studies on issues such as transportation, drainage and utilities. The Dell Medical School is expected to open in summer 2016.