Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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UT scouts location for new medical school

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TWC News: UT scouts location for new medical school
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The University of Texas’ vision to build a medical school is now becoming clear.

On Wednesday, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation announced their $50 million investment into the project, which is set to be as close to The 40 Acres as possible.

Thursday morning, a UT spokesperson said in an email to YNN that building the school as close to University Medical Center Brackenridge is one option, or where the Penick-Allison Tennis Courts are currently located.

UT's Board of Regents first approved a medical school on campus last May. In November, Travis County voters passed Central Health Proposition 1, which raises property taxes to fund training for medical students. UT has agreed to fund the medical school itself, but the Dell Foundation's donation reduces a huge amount of its cost. According to a press release, the school will be named the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.

Travis County Central Health Official Rosie Mendoza says local taxpayers are the catalyst to starting the medical school engine.

"It was because they said yes to Central to increase their taxes that we are going to be able to bring this medical school to life," she said.

It's estimated the school will bring 15,000 jobs to the area, and $2 billion a year will impact the greater Austin area when the school is complete.

Michael Dell said his foundation’s contribution will pay off for the entire community.

"In addition to improved health outcome, the medical school will attract leading medical practitioners, researchers to the Austin area,” Dell said. “That's going to spur all sorts of medical technology innovations which will be available on a yearly basis to our entire community and also will drive a new wave of economic growth around biotech technologies"

Construction costs for the medical school are estimated at $233 million. Operating costs over 12 years could reach $4.1 billion.

The Dells also contributed another $10 million to community health clinics for Austin and Travis County.

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