AUSTIN (KXAN) - The University of Texas Board of Regents on Thursday unanimously approved establishing a medical school at the Austin campus, bringing the long-awaited project one step closer to reality.
UT President Bill Powers said that no undergraduate tuition would be used to fund the project. UT committed $25 million annually and $5 million for eight years for the project.
State Sen. Kirk Watson, an Austin Democrat who has been spearheading the drive for the facility, said he expects a private fundraising effort to generate the $35 million annually needed to get the project started. The payoff, Watson said, would be that a medical school would be the catalyst for some $2 billion in economic activity the project would spur.
"This whole effort has been about building a bridge to a modern health care system and economy," Watson said on his political web page. "And this Board of Regents vote – along with announcements last week of plans for a state-of-the-art teaching hospital and a new agreement transforming the way health care is delivered in this community – puts us most of the way toward completing that bridge.
"It's up to us to finish the job," he added, "because, as you know, an unfinished bridge leads nowhere. We'll be talking more in the coming weeks about the next, last steps toward completing this transformative work for our health, our families and our economy."
Regents also unanimously endorsed establishing a South Texas medical school that would be contingent on lawmakers allocating the necessary funding to build and staff it. No price tag was announced.
Meanwhile on April 24, officials with the Seton group of hospitals said they want to allocate $250 million to replace the aging University Medical Center Brackenridge , a teaching hospital in Downtown Austin.
"The teaching hospital of tomorrow is going to look very different than the hospital of today, or even the hospital that we see there," Seton Healthcare Family Board Chairman Charles Barnett said at the time.
Officials have said they will need more land around the University of Texas at Austin to build the teaching hospital and medical school.
The facility will have a more modern look, like Dell Children's Medical Center, which incorporates more natural light and wider hallways that are easier to navigate.
But beyond the architectural design, Seton and Central Health officials said it will transform local health care for the next 30 years and deliver services in a new way.
Seton officials said they expect Central Texas hospital visits to go down 20 to 40 percent over the next 10 years.
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.