AUSTIN, Texas – (Jan. 27, 2015) – The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation today announced a major challenge grant to pay for construction of Ascension Seton‘s new teaching hospital in downtown Austin and solidify a community-wide plan to provide better care closer to home.
The new hospital – to be called Dell Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas when it opens in 2017 – is estimated to cost $295 million. The first $245 million has been pledged by Ascension Seton and Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health care system of which Ascension Seton is a part.
Today’s announcement comes two years after the Dell family foundation announced a $50 million grant to help build Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, which will surround the new hospital with research facilities, medical school classrooms, faculty offices and more.
“Since 2003, the foundation’s Central Texas health investments have centered on creating and supporting the elements necessary to provide ‘best in class’ care for local families,” Susan Dell, co-founder and board chair of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, said. “We want to promote health, not just treat diseases. Our goal always has been to invest in the future of care for the entire community.”
Today’s announcement marks the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s newest investment with Ascension Seton. Since 2004, the foundation has granted Ascension Seton a total of $31 million for construction and expansion of the region’s first and only freestanding pediatric teaching hospital, the internationally renowned Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, which also is the region’s Level 1 pediatric trauma center.
The new teaching hospital will be the region’s Level 1 trauma center for adults. It and the Dell Medical School are part of a planned medical campus along 15th Street that will stretch from Interstate Highway 35 west to Trinity Street.
“The day will come when the collaboration between the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Ascension Seton, University of Texas at Austin and local citizens will become the model for communities striving to transform care delivery,” Jesús Garza, Ascension Seton president and chief executive officer, said.
Ascension Seton Fund, with help from community 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.
“Michael and Susan Dell, who are family-oriented, entrepreneurial and civic-minded, have given Central Texans a simple way to make a meaningful contribution to the future health of this community we all love,” Ken Gladish, Ascension Seton Foundations president and chief executive officer, said. “Whether you are able to give $10 or $10,000, the Dell family foundation will double your gift. That will help ensure that Ascension Seton completes its new teaching hospital in time for the first graduates of the new Dell Medical School.”
With today’s announcement, gifts, grants, pledges and matching gift commitments to the campaign now total more than $33 million. Other key donors to the capital campaign include the Lola Wright Foundation, Shivers Cancer Foundation, University Federal Credit Union, Luci Johnson and Ian Turpin, Gary Farmer, the Chaparral Foundation and many more.
“The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s generous challenge will encourage even more giving to help us complete the campaign and the hospital, for a better community for all of us,” said Pete Winstead, local attorney and chair of the volunteer campaign committee.
Ascension Seton will own and operate the new hospital. It is being 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. Central Health also is partnering with Ascension Seton and other providers to improve access to quality care.
The combination of a new teaching hospital and medical school on the campus of a major research university is expected to foster related economic growth and create 15,000 new jobs locally, not including construction jobs. About 60 percent of those jobs will require two years of college or a training certificate.