Next year’s Central Health budget to include construction costs on Red River Street realignment, three new clinics

Brackenridge hosptial in downtown Austin
Central Health previewed plans that show redevelopment on the Brackenridge hospital site, pictured here, will likely begin in the 2020-21 fiscal year. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Central Health previewed plans that show redevelopment on the Brackenridge hospital site, pictured here, will likely begin in the 2020-21 fiscal year. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

More than a year after Central Health executives announced the former University Medical Center Brackenridge hospital would be demolished as part of a redevelopment on the site, the health care district previewed plans that show work on that project will likely begin sometime in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The Central Health board of managers on Sept. 9 received a presentation on its proposed 2020-21 fiscal year budget. The presentation followed a public hearing on the budget mandated by state law.

According to documents shown to managers, the upcoming budget will include provisions to begin construction on the Red River Street realignment project.

Construction on three new health care clinics is additionally expected to break ground over the next year, according to Stephanie McDonald, vice president of enterprise alignment and coordination for Central Health. Those clinics will be located in Del Valle, Hornsby Bend and Colony Park, all located in eastern Travis County.

“We anticipate all three of these [clinic] projects will be active in fiscal year [2020-21],” McDonald said at the Sept. 9 meeting.

In all, Central Health has more than $22 million allocated for capital projects in its upcoming budget, documents from the taxpayer-backed health care district show. According to budget documents, Central Health “anticipates issuing debt at a future date” in order to pay for its capital projects.

Central Health has earmarked $5 million for the Brackenridge campus redevelopment project alone in the upcoming fiscal year, budget documents show.

Groundbreaking construction and other preliminary services at the three clinic sites in eastern Travis County are expected to cost Central Health more than $9 million over the next year, according to Central Health budget documents. By the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year, Central Health plans to spend a total of $28 million on the clinic sites.

During the public hearing on Central Health’s 2020-21 fiscal year budget, several eastern Travis County residents, including representatives from the nonprofit advocacy group Del Valle Community Coalition, called in to voice their disappointment over the lack of action on clinical sites in their communities to date.

Managers took a vote Sept. 9 to accelerate construction work on the Brackenridge redevelopment and on the three clinic sites in eastern Travis County. Central Health President and CEO Mike Geeslin was granted the authority to increase architectural, surveying and engineering services contracts for those projects at a cost of up to $750,000.

Following the Sept. 9 public hearing on its upcoming budget, Central Health must vote to adopt its 2020-21 fiscal year budget and tax rate Sept. 16, according to Jeff Knodel, vice president and chief financial officer for Central Health.

The health care district’s budget and tax rate must then be approved by Travis County commissioners. That vote is expected to take place Sept. 29, budget documents show.

By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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