The big picture
University leadership unveiled plans to construct The University of Texas at Austin Medical Center at the site of the Frank Erwin Center, which formerly housed the Longhorns’ basketball teams. The new medical center will include two towers: a specialty hospital and a new branch of MD Anderson, which is based in Houston.
“We are bringing our research-driven patient care, our compassion and empathy, our nation-leading patient experience, and the largest cancer clinical trials program in the world to Austin, Texas,” MD Anderson President Peter Pisters said. “This will be a cancer center that will provide hope and cures to Central Texas and beyond.”
At least $2.5 billion is set aside to build the two hospitals, officials said.
“There are some students who are starting college for the very first time this month,” Gov. Greg Abbott said. “Some of those students will end up training at this [new medical center]—training to be the next generation of doctors, nurses and medical researchers who will save countless lives.”
The Erwin Center will be demolished by fall 2024, according to a news release. The construction of the hospitals is set to begin in 2026.
The specialty hospital will have around 250 beds. Claudia Lucchinetti, the dean of UT’s Dell Medical School, told reporters the hospital will help serve more people with complex conditions.
Lucchinetti said Austin-area residents often have to seek care outside the city for cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal issues, neuroscience and more.
UT students studying medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work will have opportunities to work and learn at the new hospitals, she said.The new cancer center will include 156 beds and over 230 outpatient exam rooms.
“We will bring the same subspecialty focus around specific types of cancers that we have in Houston,” Pisters said. “That would involve, for example, a breast cancer clinic, a colorectal cancer clinic and [other] specialized services.”
The center will be staffed by MD Anderson physicians. Roughly 25,000 employees work at the Houston location, and Pisters said he expects to hire at least 4,000 more when the Austin center opens.
MD Anderson is ranked No. 1 for U.S. cancer hospitals.
“We look forward to making cancer history in Austin,” Pisters said.