DALLAS, Texas — In an onsite ceremony, the hopes and aspirations of 1,000 employees, donors and community supporters were recently poured into the foundation of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s new University Hospital, an $800 million state-of-the-art facility slated to open in 2015.
The foundation-laying event commemorates a key milestone for the new hospital’s construction, which began in March with site preparation. The 12-floor, 460-room facility is an essential step in UT Southwestern’s plan to become one of the nation’s Top 10 comprehensive academic medical centers.
“The innovative new hospital is meticulously designed around the total needs of patients and their families,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern. “It represents the forefront of design for hospitals of the future, integrating best practices gathered from the nation’s top medical facilities with the innovation and high standards of research and education that the medical center is known for around the world.”
UT Southwestern sent journal cards to more than 10,000 employees and community supporters weeks prior to the ceremony, inviting them to write their aspirations for the hospital’s future. The original cards – a sampling of which Dr. Podolsky read at the ceremony – were poured into a cement block that will become part of the new hospital.
The new University Hospital will feature: • 460 all-private patient rooms to accommodate family and friends overnight with an array of amenities designed to reflect the comforts of home; • Office and support space for clinical researchers; • An integrated electronic health records system and collaborative design of the hospital that will bolster patient-safety efforts; • Robotics in the operating rooms that will allow for highly precise and minimally invasive procedures; • An onsite education center; and • In-room monitors that will allow patients and caregivers to review charts and images. In-room video-conferencing will enable patients to communicate virtually with members of their care team or family and friends.
The hospital – designed by architectural firm RTKL Associates and being built by the Hunt Construction Group – will replace University Hospital – St. Paul, which opened in 1963 and cannot be expanded to handle growing capacity needs or economically renovated to incorporate the state-of-the-art technology required to practice the medicine of the future. University Hospital – St. Paul will remain fully operational until the new 1.31-million-square-foot facility opens. The $800-million cost for construction and completion of the new hospital will be financed through a combination of bond sales, clinical revenues and philanthropy. No state or other public funds will be used to support this project.
The goal of UT Southwestern’s Building the Future of Medicine campaign is to raise $200 million in private funds for the new University Hospital. To date, supporters have generously contributed nearly $62 million. In addition, the UT Southwestern physicians have committed $200 million of their clinical earnings to support the project.