What are the next steps for the new UT Medical District?

November 30, 2013 by Sean Shapiro

The medical district at the University of Texas is moving closer to the first phrase of construction. The Dell Medical School will accept its first 50-student class in 2016 but there is a lot going on now to prepare.

The school and teaching hospital are planned for the space across from the Frank Erwin Center and the University is still seeking accreditation for the school, according to officials at a public forum in early November.

While accreditation is being worked on in the University offices, planning and design work is ongoing and passersby on I-35 may see physical progress soon.

“We have the architects work finished, the plans are in place,” Dr. Steven Leslie with the University of Texas told the forum. “The funding came from the University of Texas System to support the facilities and we’re going to see construction begin probably toward the end of the year on the first building.”

The proposed Medical District, looking south toward the Texas state Capitol building. (University of Texas)

Once the construction is completed the new school and hospital are expected to generate more than 15,000 new jobs and $2 billion in annual economic activity.

While there are positives in the future, the construction for the project will have short-term inconveniences. Last November Travis County voters approved a tax increase to help fund the project.

The approval raised Central Health property tax from 7.89 cents per $100 to 12.9 cents per $100. For a $300,000 home – around the mean average for Travis County – yearly Central Health property taxes will go from $236 to $386.

Another potential short-term impact is traffic due to road construction. Expected to be completed by December 2014, the University has to realign or “straighten out” Red River Street from 15th Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in order to increase development capacity within the district.

Are the short-term headaches worth the long-term benefits? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Written by Sean Shapiro