(BRYAN, TX) — The Texas A&M Health Science Center and City of Bryan made history Wednesday with a groundbreaking for the new HSC Bryan Campus – the first time the Texas A&M University System will have a permanent physical presence in the city.

“We want to build a campus unlike other campuses,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., President of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs for the Texas A&M University System.

“We want it to be academic but peaceful. We want the buildings to be designed around functions – research, teaching – and not around disciplines. We want it to be a place that is welcoming and valuable to our students as well as to the public; one that supports and promotes life-long learning and an interdisciplinary approach to health care. We want it to be visible to the community and recognized as distinct from Texas A&M University. But, we also want it to be designed in such a way as to be an extension of TAMU – inviting and welcoming of our colleagues, fellow researchers, and students from TAMU to come learn with our students and continue long-standing collaborations with our faculty.”

Dr. Dickey was joined by numerous legislators, City of Bryan officials, community leaders, A&M System administrators and invited guests at the new campus site, about 200 acres along State Highway 47, adjacent to Traditions Club Golf Course. Because it is largely undeveloped, attendees were transported by bus from the nearby Brazos County Exposition Complex to the property.

“Wow! What a day this is in the history of the Texas A&M System, the City of Bryan and all our citizens in the Brazos Valley,” said Bryan Mayor D. Mark Conlee. “The birth of a new university campus does not happen often. Today, the City of Bryan celebrates the opportunity to enter into a partnership with the Texas A&M Health Science Center and all our citizens. We celebrate that the city will now be home to a state-of-the-art health science center campus that not only educates future doctors, nurses and other health care professionals but also embraces the local community and the entire Brazos Valley.”

The new Bryan location will ultimately allow the HSC to consolidate its academic programs and administration currently located throughout Bryan and College Station onto a single campus. The first two buildings – the Medical Education and Research Center and the Health Professions Education Center – are scheduled to open in summer 2010, and renderings of the buildings were unveiled during the event.

“This is a day we’ve anticipated, and I’m honored to be part of this process and recognition,” said A&M System Chancellor Michael D. McKinney, M.D. “The new facilities we’re celebrating today will become the central nerve of a complex academic and research health science center, and this is truly an exciting time for the Texas A&M University System and the Texas A&M Health Science Center.”

HSC officials said there are four phases of construction with this project, with initial work slated to begin this spring or summer. The entire campus is scheduled for completion around 2020, and there are plans for the HSC to house clinical facilities.

“This is a landmark step in establishing the Texas A&M University System and the Texas A&M Health Science Center as a state and national leader in training physicians and other health professionals,” said Bill Jones, J.D., A&M System Board of Regents Chairman. “The turning of this dirt typically is viewed as looking toward the future and the building of beautiful buildings. But this is also a celebration of the past – the years of planning, preparation and perseverance to get where we are today. Let us not fear change because progress is not possible without it.”

The A&M System Board of Regents approved the allocation of 200 acres in Bryan to the HSC in December 2006, having earlier accepted the $6.6 million land gift from the City of Bryan. Fifty of these acres will be for health-related public-private partnerships and facilities

City of Bryan and HSC officials said the new campus will provide an estimated economic benefit to the city of $1 billion for 2010 alone.

“What an exciting time it is for all of us to be here breaking ground on this significant addition to our community,” said Royce Hickman, president and CEO of the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce. “Since it began operations on Sept. 1, 1999, the Health Science Center has brought prestige to our community. Today, it not only continues to bring us prestige but also now has a significant economic impact on our community.”

HSC officials emphasize the new campus is not a step toward bringing the other HSC components located across the state to the Bryan-College Station area. Part of its strategic plan is a commitment to all Texans and a distinctive calling for service to the state’s rural and underserved populations.

The projected cost of the Medical Education and Research Center is $60 million, paid through tuition revenue bonds and other System resources. Funding for additional phases is expected from the Texas Legislature and philanthropic efforts.

“I want to not only thank Dr. Dickey, Chancellor McKinney, members of the Board of Regents and everyone for their vision on how to make the Health Science Center a world-class institution but also the Texas taxpayers for their incredible support on behalf of that vision,” said State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan. “When we break ground today, we are sending a message to Texas taxpayers and the Texas Legislature that we appreciate the funding, we will be good stewards of that funding, and with it, we will produce the best health care professionals in this country.”

Meanwhile, State Rep. Fred Brown, R-Bryan, had high praise for Dr. Dickey and her tireless work, both on the new Bryan campus and the HSC itself.

“When you think about visionaries, what a great experience it is to work with them as they open the windows to the future and show us how our lives will be changed for the better,” Rep. Brown said. “In the last 10 years, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a visionary with the stature of Dr. Dickey.”

Additional attendees were A&M System Regent Lupe Fraga; David Watkins, Bryan City Manager; Brazos County Judge Randy Sims; College Station Mayor Ben White; A&M President Dr. Elsa A. Murano; HSC-College of Medicine Dean Dr. Christopher C. Colenda; HSC-School of Rural Public Health Dean Dr. Ciro V. Sumaya; and HSC-Nursing Program Acting Dean Dr. Sharon Wilkerson. There also were members of the Bryan campus Master Planning Committee and Broadus and Associates, FKP Architects, and EDAW design and architectural firms.

The Texas A&M Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its six colleges located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, and the School of Rural Public Health.

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