Just over 14 months after breaking ground, Ascension Seton celebrated the “topping out” of Dell Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, a major construction milestone that marks the placement of the new hospital’s highest structural beam.
Actually, there were two beams, both of which were painted white and adorned with the emblems of Ascension Seton and the new hospital.
They were placed in the main lobby of University Medical Center Brackenridge Nov. 11-12 where they were signed by hundreds of doctors, nurses and other associates, as well as donors, patients, VIPs and others visitors. Donors also signed the beams during a special Ascension Seton Fund reception held Nov. 11 in the Clinical Education Center at Brackenridge.
Autographs filled nearly every available space. Some signers crawled under the beams to sign the bottom, where there was more available room to write. Others filled in the white lines within the Ascension Seton cross on the emblems with their names. Still others carefully printed their names on the beams’ tiny edges.
Some wrote more.
- “Dear God, thank you for this structure, where we will put your gifts to us, our knowledge of healing, to help all who are in need. Always through you, God. Amen.”
- “Although this building is sure to be a place of unforeseen suffering, may it also house limitless compassion between patients, families, caregivers and learners.”
There also was a message about UMC Brackenridge, which will be replaced by Dell Seton.
- “To those that come and those who go, this will always be the first place I called home.”
Beam-signers also were invited to suggest items to be placed in a time capsule that will be buried on site at the new hospital, which is scheduled to open in Spring 2017. A sampling of the suggestions:
- UMC Brackenridge scrubs
- Copy of the first letter designating UMC Brackenridge a Level I trauma center
- Pictures of Dr. Robert Brackenridge and the founders of the Daughters of Charity, who founded Ascension Seton: St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
- A piece of the huge rock in the UMC Brackenridge basement
- Photos of the Daughters of Charity
- Photos of therapy dogs
A new animated, “fly around” video of what Dell Ascension Seton will look like – inside and out – debuted. Here are photos of the event. News coverage included stories by KVUE, Fox 7, KXAN, KEYE, Time Warner Cable News and the Austin Business Journal.
Christann Vasquez, president of both UMC Brackenridge and Dell Ascension Seton, hosted the event and talked about how much she’s looking forward to the opening of the new hospital. Jesús Garza, Ascension Seton president and CEO, and Texas State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, also spoke. See videos are Garza’s and Vasquez’s remarks.
A blessing was offered by Jonathan Ford, the new chief mission integration officer for both Ascension Seton and Providence Healthcare Network, which combined comprise the Texas Ministry of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit healthcare system.
After the remarks, TV cameramen and photographers accompanied many of the more than 50 people present when they walked across the bridge from UMC Brackenridge’s main lobby to the hospital garage elevators, which took them to the parking structure’s top level.
There, they re-gathered on the north side, looking across 15th Street at Dell Ascension Seton. While cheering and taking personal photos and videos, they watched a crane pick up one of the autographed, ceremonial beams from the ground and place it atop the building.
Ascension Seton and Ascension are investing $245 million toward the $295 million teaching hospital. $50 million will come from community donations. No taxpayer funds are paying for construction.
It will be the primary teaching hospital for Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin – but not the only one.
At Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, Ascension Seton Shoal Creek Hospital and Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, doctors also will be training other doctors, conducting groundbreaking research and implementing new treatments. Through education, training and research, it will be a vital link to the future of care in Central Texas.
Ascension Seton has funded most of the costs for graduate medical education in Austin since 2005, and is committed to continuing this support in partnership with University of Texas at Austin. The new medical school is the first to be built in the U.S. at a Tier 1 research university in nearly half a century. Ascension Seton is playing a major role in helping to shape the school’s signature curriculum and research efforts, focused on creating a more efficient and effective healthcare system and training future physician leaders.
Dell Ascension Seton, like UMC Brackenridge, will house Central Texas’ only Level I trauma center for adults. The trauma center gives patients in 11 counties round-the-clock access to skilled trauma specialists.