AUSTIN, Texas – (Aug. 26, 2014) – Construction of Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, Ascension Ascension Seton’s $295 million, 211-bed teaching hospital, started with the unveiling of four philosophical cornerstones that will guide its operations: improving medical care; respect and dignity for patients and their families; educating the next generation of clinicians; and innovating through both practice and research.
See the new, time-lapse video of the crowd as it gathered for the event:
The ceremonial start of construction drew about 350 community leaders and Ascension Seton associates. Many used colorful “Ascension Seton Medical Center at UT” umbrellas and “Personalized Care With a Heart” fans for relief from the morning sun.
Media covering the event included all local TV stations, including KXAN and KVUE, which did live reports as early as 4:30 a.m. Attorney Pete Winstead, chair of the Ascension Seton Capital Campaign Committee, and Charley Scarborough, Ascension Seton Fund executive director, were interviewed a couple of times. Chris Vasquez, president of UMC Brackenridge who also will become president of Ascension Seton Medical Center at UT when it opens, did several interviews as well.
The event began at 9 a.m. when a STAR Flight helicopter buzzed the crowd, heading north to south toward University Medical Center Brackenridge’s garage.
Speakers included Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Austin Diocese, Sister Helen Brewer of the Daughters of Charity and Charles Barnett, executive board chair of the Ascension Seton Board of Trustees. Also featured were Dr. Uju Nnameka, an internal medicine medical resident, and Daniel Curtis, a former trauma patient.
Ascension Seton Medical Center at UT will open in 2017 on the northwest corner of Red River and 15th streets. Across Red River, on the northeast corner, The University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School already is under construction and scheduled to open in 2016.
Both buildings will be located on a new medical campus that also will accommodate medical school classrooms, faculty and physician offices and research facilities. The other buildings will surround “Ascension Seton Medical Center at UT” and stretch from Interstate Highway 35 west to Trinity Street.
Seton, which is investing $245 million in the project and raising another $50 million through philanthropy, will own and operate the new hospital. It will be built on land owned by UT-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.
Like the medical school, Ascension Seton’s teaching hospital is part of Texas State Sen. Kirk Watson’s bold 10 Goals in 10 Years initiative to improve community health infrastructure. The hospital will replace University Medical Center Brackenridge, erected in the 1970s and not designed to meet the operational needs of a 21st century teaching hospital. Central Health, which owns UMC Brackenridge, is working with the community to determine how best to repurpose the hospital.
“By passing Proposition 1 in November 2012, voters pledged support for a higher standard of health care, expanded services and greater accessibility,” Jesús Garza, Ascension Seton president and chief executive officer, said. “To help meet that goal, Ascension Seton is building a modern teaching hospital worthy of the world-class Dell Medical School that we are working with UT to develop.”
The teaching hospital will anchor a platform for academic medicine and research across Central Texas that includes Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, Ascension Seton Shoal Creek Hospital and other facilities in the community.
Ascension Seton Fund, with help from community leader fundraising volunteers, is spearheading the effort to raise $50 million from the community – one of the largest goals for a single, nongovernmental building campaign in Austin’s history. More information is available online.
To date, the capital campaign has announced major gifts of $1.5 million from University Federal Credit Union and $1 million each from the Lola Wright Foundation, Shivers Cancer Foundation and the Luci Baines Johnson and Ian Turpin family.
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.
JE Dunn Construction is the general contractor for the project. HKS is the lead architect.