Ascension Seton has selected JE Dunn Construction to be the general contractor for its new $295 million teaching hospital at East 15th and Red River streets, close to the soon-to-be-built University of Texas Dell Medical School.
JE Dunn is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., and has major operations in more than a dozen other communities, including Austin. The firm has been an Austin builder for more than a decade and has managed multiple large, complex construction projects in and around the city.
Recent projects include three high-rise towers in downtown Austin: 360 Condominiums, 7th & Rio Apartments and IBC Bank Plaza. JE Dunn also built the Topfer Theatre at ZACH and the City of Austin YMCA North Austin Community Recreation Center and is currently renovating Ascension Seton Northwest Hospital. JE Dunn has a long history of success erecting major medical facilities elsewhere in Texas and in other states.
JE Dunn was selected after 16 firms were invited to submit their qualifications and 13 did so. Six firms were asked to provide proposals; four were interviewed. Criteria used by Ascension Seton in making the selection included: safety record; quality of work; experience in erecting large-scale health care facilities with complex operational requirements; financial stability; a good reputation for completing projects on time and within budget; and a commitment to working with diverse (minority and women-owned) subcontractors.
Ascension Seton will work with the contractor to involve diverse subcontractors in this project, including minority, women and veteran-owned subcontractors. JE Dunn has earned a good reputation in this regard. For example, its Minority Contractor Business Development (MCBD) program, a yearlong program, enhances diverse subcontractors’ business development skills and helps them better compete with other contractors. The first MCBD class in Austin graduated last year and the second class is now under way.
“JE Dunn best met Ascension Seton’s criteria – including those on safety – and expressed confidence that it can work within the $295 million budget and construction schedule for this project,” said Peter Rieck, Ascension Ascension Seton’s vice president for facilities and support services.
Construction of the new 210-bed hospital is scheduled to begin later this year and be completed in 2017. Upon opening, it will replace University Medical Center Brackenridge, located across the street at 601 E. 15th Street.
Ascension Seton will fully fund construction and own the new hospital. Ascension Seton also will pay for its operations. The facility will be built on land owned by the University of Texas at Austin and leased to Central Health, Travis County’s health care district.
The teaching hospital will anchor a health care safety net system across Central Texas while also adding to the supply of doctors providing advanced medical care to everyone. It will be the primary teaching hospital, but medical residents also will train at other Ascension Seton hospitals, including Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, as well as other facilities in the community.
The combination of a new teaching hospital and a medical school on the campus of a major research university is expected to create 15,000 new jobs, not including construction jobs. About 60 percent of those jobs will require two years of college or a training certificate.
Seton, Central Health, their multi-provider Community Care Collaborative and other community partners expect to be able to expand clinical programs, which will reduce hospitalizations and the need for travel to other cities for treatment. The overall goal is to promote wellness and transform the way health care is delivered so that patients receive the right care at the right time in the right medical settings, avoiding inappropriate acute care.