AUSTIN (KXAN) — Downtown Austin will be home to a new medical center, University of Texas-Austin leaders and Gov. Greg Abbott said during a press conference Monday.
UT unveiled plans for the University of Texas at Austin Medical Center, which will be built at the site of the Frank Erwin Center.
Officials said they hope to get the center completed in five years by 2029 or 2030 and anticipate the project will add 4,000-5,000 jobs.
As part of the UT-Austin Medical Center, a second hospital tower will hold the new UT-Austin Specialty University Hospital. The UT MD Anderson Hospital will be administered and operated by MD Anderson staff.
“We will bring the world’s No. 1 cancer hospital to Central Texas and build on UT-Austin’s reputation for excellence in the success of the Dell Medical School and UT Health Austin,” UT System Board Chairman Kevin P. Eltife said.
Eltife called the new medical center “the future of world-class health care.”
It will bring with it 150 inpatient beds and more than 230 outpatient exam rooms.
“Along with procedure rooms, diagnostic imaging, linear accelerators for radiation treatment, and a state of the art pharmacy and chemotherapy and fusion unit,” President of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Dr. Peter Pisters said.
UT said it will invest $2.5 billion in the construction of the medical center.
Abbott said this investment enhances the state’s efforts toward advancing health care in Texas.
“People across the globe go to MD Anderson Houston for the best cancer care in the world. We will now be bringing the world’s best cancer care to them [Texans] right here in Central Texas. Families across Central Texas are affected by cancer every single year… they can now stay close to home for that care,” Abbott said.
‘It would make life so much easier’
Hannah Thompson drives 150 miles from the Austin area to Houston to visit the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Back in 2016, she was diagnosed with Uveal Melanoma, a type of eye cancer.
Two years ago, she got the news it spread to other parts of her body.
“When they did the PET scan, they found additional spots in my bone,” Thompson said. “So I did a bone biopsy and it was confirmed in my bone.”
Thompson said she’s focused on doing more natural treatments instead of radiation or chemotherapy.
“The woman that I’m seeing out of MD Anderson is incredible,” Thompson said. “She’s super supportive of my decision.”
Thompson said she’s excited that one day, she won’t have to make that far drive for her visits.
“Having the ability to just be able to go to an appointment and come home and not worry about having to schedule around my work or schedule around the kids pick up or drop off,” Thompson said. “It would be so fantastic. It would make life so much easier.”
She said this opens up a whole new world of opportunity.
“If you were looking for a reason to explore MD Anderson and the reason that was prohibiting you was because it was so far away, this could open doors,” Thompson said.