The University of Texas Board of Regents voted May 3 to commit up to $30 million annually toward a new medical school in Austin—contingent on a match of $35 million per year from other sources or partners.
The pledge provides a major boost for the initiative to build a medical school in Austin championed by state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.
“That [commitment] means we’re close—closer than we’ve ever been—to delivering this community a medical school and the wealth of health care and economic resources that come with it,” the senator said in a May 3 statement.
Specifically—of the $30 million— UT would allocate $25 million recurring, with an additional $5 million for eight years to serve as startup costs.
“[Watson] really jump-started the conversation about health care improvements and education in Central Texas,” UT spokesman Gary Susswein said. “[The vote] happened as a direct result."
Raising the $35 million could take many forms, including philanthropy, taxes and assessments, as Watson said he will be working in the coming weeks to flesh out how participation should look as well as the proportion that should be borne by different interests.
In return for the investment, he said the new medical school is estimated to result in 15,000 permanent jobs and close to $2 billion in economic activity.
While no decision has been made on the medical school's location, possible sites include UT's campus, the Mueller redevelopment near Airport Boulevard, Waterloo Park and University Medical Center Brackenridge.
Moreover, UT's vote comes less than two weeks after an agreement was reached between Central Health and Seton Healthcare Family—which committed $250 million for a new teaching hospital to replace the outdated UMCB. The pledge is still subject to approval by Ascension Health, which oversees Seton.
According to Susswein, the next steps include identifying the final pieces of funding, which will help dictate a site and timeframe for the project.