Higher Education

Dallas architecture firm HKS to design new UT Austin teaching hospital

Dallas architecture firm HKS to design new UT teaching hospital

Seton Healthcare Family recently announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art teaching hospital at the University of Texas at Austin. The Dell Medical School will accept its first class in 2016, and the aging Brackenridge Hospital isn't up to the task.

Seton, along with parent company Ascension health, celebrated the news on June 18 with a press conference attended by Texas medical professionals and lawmakers. Texas Sen. Kirk Watson addressed the crowd, complimenting the voting public for choosing to raise taxes on themselves in November 2012 to make the plans for the Dell Medical School and its new teaching hospital a reality.

The teaching hospital comes as a partnership between three organizations: Seton Healthcare Family, Central Health (Travis County's health care district) and the UT Systems. Seton, also home to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center's Austin medical residency programs and Seton/UTSW Clinical Research Institute, will invest $245 million in building the hospital.

Dallas-based architecture firm HKS Inc was selected to lead the project. The firm has vast experience in designing and developing children's hospitals, emergency departments and cancer centers. Among others, HKS built the Connecticut Children's Hospital, Parker Adventist Hospital and the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Brain Health.

"Seton has a track record for opening hospitals on time and within budget," said Charles Barnett, executive board chair of Seton Healthcare Family board of trustees. "What [the three organizations] have done individually is impressive, but what we will be able to do collectively will be transformational."

"The new medical school campus will be part of our academic campus, and this will be a powerful connection," said UT President Bill Powers. "Our medical students will be walking distance from some of the most innovative research in the world — not only in medicine but in pharmacy, chemistry, medical business systems and biomedical engineering."

There are no current plans to demolish Brackenridge Hospital. It will continue to function until the new teaching hospital is built and plans are made to move operations there. After the move, the Brackenridge may be repurposed for other uses yet to be determined.

Plans for the Dell Medical School at UT Austin
Plans for the Dell Medical School at UT Austin, which the teaching hospital will serve. Photo courtesy of UT Systems