‘Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas’ Will be Name of New Teaching Hospital


Ascension Ascension Seton’s new $295 million, 211-bed teaching hospital will be named Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, President and Chief Executive Officer Jesús Garza announced. See a “fly around” video of the new hospital.

The new name was revealed at The Future of Care Luncheon, an annual event by Ascension Seton Fund at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin. This year, luncheon participants raised money to help pay for the new hospital that will serve as the primary training site for students at The University of Texas at Austin’s new Dell Medical School.

Construction of Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas will begin in late 2014 and the new hospital is slated to open in 2017. A ceremony to mark the start of construction of Dell Medical School will be held April 21; the medical school is scheduled to open in 2016. Both buildings will be located on the new medical campus around the corner of 15th and Red River streets, where work already has begun to reroute utility lines and straighten Red River to accommodate these two and other new facilities.


This new hospital will be built on the north side of 15th Street, across from the facility it will replace: University Medical Center Brackenridge at 601 E. 15th St. The current hospital, which dates back to the 1970s, is not designed to effectively meet the operational needs of a 21st century teaching hospital as medical technology continues to advance and Dell Medical School produces medical residents (medical graduates who are doctors in training) and medical students seeking first-hand health care exposure and experience.

Ascension Seton will invest $245 million toward construction. Ascension Seton Fund is spearheading efforts to raise via philanthropy another $50 million – one of the largest goals for a single, nongovernmental building campaign in Austin’s history. Central Texas’ largest health care provider used a similar approach to fund the construction of Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. More information is available here.

“We need the generosity of our community to help build this new teaching hospital, which will forever elevate health care in Austin,” said Pete Winstead, founder of Winstead PC and chair of the Ascension Seton Capital Campaign Committee, who was honored during the luncheon.

Ascension Seton will own the new hospital and 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, which will sub-lease the land to Ascension Seton at fair market value.

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, as well as other facilities in the community.

“By passing Proposition 1 in November 2012, Travis County voters pledged their support for a higher standard of health care, expanded services and greater accessibility,” Garza said. “Now, it is Ascension Seton’s turn to show its support by building a new teaching hospital that we believe will rival any in the nation.”

The combination of a new teaching hospital and 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 emergency care.

“The center of the system will be the new teaching hospital, but we won’t rely on a single location,” said Greg Hartman, Ascension Seton president of Academic Medicine, Research and External Affairs. “Demographics are constantly changing. Poor and vulnerable residents live throughout Central Texas, a shift since the era in which Brackenridge was built and expanded. The Community Care Collaborative safety net will ultimately include all Ascension Seton facilities so we can better serve the entire region.”

Despite projections of continued population growth, the new teaching hospital will be roughly the same size as UMC Brackenridge, which has 206 beds. It will include 60 critical care beds, four neonatal intensive care unit beds, four labor and delivery beds and 12 beds for patients with behavioral health needs.

A memorial to Dr. Robert J. Brackenridge will be featured in the new hospital. Also to be honored within the new structure will be the Daughters of Charity, Ascension Seton’s founders who have provided health care to Central Texans since 1902, and the people of Central Texas.

JE Dunn Construction is the general contractor for the project. HKS is the lead architect.