UT Dell Medical School reveals master plan details for $283 million replacement of Austin State Hospital

An artist's concept rendering shows how the Austin State Hospital campus could transform over the course of its renovation.

An artist's concept rendering shows how the Austin State Hospital campus could transform over the course of its renovation.

Image description
ConceptRenderingASHhospital
To make way for a replacement of the over 100-year-old Austin State Hospital in Central Austin, construction crews could start clearing land on the campus as early as October, pending allocation of state funds.

“There’s a really strong recognition [among lawmakers] that we’re not providing the type of mental health care we should and we’re having things that we’re have to spend money on because of it,” said state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, regarding political will to provide funding for state mental health hospital renovations. “For example, if we can do better with regard to mental health care in our state, we might have less cost in our criminal justice system and that’s just talking about the economic cost.”

Dr. Stephen Strakowski, chair of the Austin State Hospital Steering Committee and chair of The University of Texas Dell Medical School Department of Psychiatry, outlined the results of a yearslong planning process that was led by leaders from Dell Medical School, The National Alliance for Mental Illness-Austin and other community members. The state-run mental hospital campus at 4110 Guadalupe St. near Hyde Park serves 75 counties spanning an area the size of Ohio.

“If it works as we intend it to in the next 10 years, we can change how people access care in the 75 counties this hospital serves,” Strakowski said.

Depending on what amount of funding for the project is allocated by the current state Legislature, the new state-run mental hospital will range from 216 to 288 beds along with funding set aside for partnerships with other regional hospitals to take in patients as well. In addition to constructing the new hospital building on the southwest corner of the campus adjacent to Central Market, options within the plan include renovations for the remaining buildings on the campus which house various out-patient services.

The plan also outlines ways the hospital interacts with law enforcement agencies to allow those apprehended for a crime and suspected to suffer from a mental illness to get evaluated and receive care more quickly rather than spending more time in a jail cell. The redevelopment plan could be completed by 2023, Stratowski said.

The state has over $300 million set aside in its supplemental budget to address needs at six state-run mental hospitals across the state, Watson said. While this would not cover the entire project, it signifies state lawmakers are prepared to take requests from Texas Health and Human Services, which oversees the budget for the state's mental hospitals, seriously, he said.

In 2017, the Texas Legislature allocated $15.5 million to fund the planning process for the redesign of the campus after a 2016 independent review found the state’s mental health hospitals in need of major renovations or complete replacements.

View the full plan here.




Editor's note: This post has been updated for clarity.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


MOST RECENT

Austin transportation officials said April 15 the range of corridor construction program projects initiated through the city's 2016 Mobility Bond remain on track for completion by late 2024. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Several Austin corridor mobility projects moving forward in 2021, program on track for 2024 completion

Transportation officials said some corridor program improvements previously planned along Guadalupe Street and East Riverside Drive are being reduced ahead of Project Connect expansions.

Jack Allen's Kitchen will be at 1345 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park. (Rendering courtesy Jack Allen's Kitchen)
7 restaurants coming to Cedar Park, Leander; new murals to go up in Georgetown and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the Central Texas area from the past week.

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Austin FC supporters celebrate the official announcement of the team in January 2019. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
How, where to watch historic first Austin FC match April 17

Check out this list of breweries, pubs and restaurants around Central Texas that are hosting watch parties for April 17's inaugural Austin FC game.

Z'Tejas' chorizo dumplings are served on the Arboretum location's porch. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Z'Tejas to open in Avery Ranch; butcher, deli to open in Dripping Springs and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Maj. Vito Errico, left, and Maj. Jason Zuniga are co-directors of Army Futures Command's Software Factory, for which the first cohort of soldiers started in January. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
From a rifle to a keyboard: Army Futures Command opens Software Factory at downtown ACC campus

Twenty-five soldiers started in January as part of the Software Factory's first cohort. Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be at the Rio Grande campus for a ribbon-cutting April 15.

Mobile Loaves & Fishes leaders and Community First Village residents unveiled the planned third and fourth phases of the Austin development for the formerly homeless April 14. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's Community First Village for the formerly homeless announces 127-acre, 1,400-home expansion

Officials with the community, which is intended for residents who have experienced chronic homelessness, said that two new expansion phases are expected to begin development in 2022.

Photo of a sign that says "Travis County"
Travis County establishes new emergency rental assistance program for 2021

The program will provide $10.7 million in aid to county residents struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic.

Plank Seafood Provisions opened inside The Domain in late March. (Courtesy Richard Casteel)
Seafood spot opens in The Domain; All Star Liquor now serving Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.