Construction to begin on Seton's teaching hospital

Seton Healthcare Family celebrated Aug. 26 the beginning of construction on its new teaching hospital, which is expected to commence in the coming weeks.

Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas will be located at the corner of 15th and Red River streets near the UT's future Dell Medical School, which is expected to be complete in 2016. The teaching hospital is designed to anchor a new downtown medical district and will serve as the primary training site for Dell Medical School students.

"Care will be delivered in new and exciting ways at the new teaching hospital and medical school," said Jess Garza, Seton's president and chief operating officer. "Once it opens, the new hospital will bring a new level of care to Central Texas."

Garza highlighted four cornerstone goals Seton hopes to achieve through the teaching hospital: Care, education, innovation and dignity. The hospital will be a facility for medical care to be developed and piloted, he said.

Seton expects to open the facility in 2017 and plans to engage in community outreach to future patients and expand residents' access to primary and specialty care.

Dr. Clay Johnston, inaugural dean of Seton Medical Center at UT, said partnerships between the university, Central Health, Seton and others in Austin will allow for new innovation in medical care.

State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said building the hospital helps achieve his goal of improving health care in the region, as does the recent opening of the new psychiatric emergency department at University Medical Center Brackenridge.

"We know that we are making extraordinary progress on the 10 Goals in 10 Years [initiative]," Watson said.

In July, Seton announced Christiann Vasquez as the president of the teaching hospital. Vasquez was previously the executive vice president and chief operating officer of University Health System in San Antonio and recently led efforts to plan and build a hospital in San Antonio.

"This project, for the community [and for Central Texas], is extremely important," Vasquez said. "In a true academic medical center we want to play a central role in educating medical providers of the future."

Seton announced Aug. 14 that Shivers Cancer Foundation donated $1,000,0001 to Seton Medical Center at UT, the largest donation the organization has ever made.

In January, Seton announced JE Dunn Construction Co. as the contractor for the $295 million teaching hospital.