(ROUND ROCK, TX) — Moving full speed ahead in Central Texas, the Texas A&M Health Science Center held a campus dedication event Thursday to provide the latest details on its new Round Rock campus, with the first building expected to be occupied next fall.

“I am tremendously pleased to mark the presence of our first academic building in Williamson County,” said Michael D. McKinney, M.D., chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “I look forward to the growth of Health Science Center programs even beyond the College of Medicine to develop services benefiting the citizens and educational infrastructure of this region.”

The chancellor was joined by numerous legislators, as well as Williamson County and City of Round Rock officials, community leaders, A&M System administrators and invited guests.

“Our nation and our state currently face an unprecedented health care work force shortage with statistics showing Texas in need of 10,000 additional practicing physicians by 2020 simply to maintain our current physician-to-patient ratio,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System. “The need is great, and the Texas A&M Health Science Center is swiftly answering the call through the expansion of medical education into Williamson County.”

The 80th Texas Legislature appropriated $9 million in 2007 for an HSC-Round Rock campus to provide medical education. The HSC-College of Medicine already is providing clinical training for third- and fourth-year medical students in Round Rock as part of the expansion of the college’s existing campuses in Temple and College Station. About 35 third- and fourth-year medical students are now working dozens of rotations in various Williamson County hospitals.

In January, the Avery family donated property located west of Farm-to-Market 1460 and south of County Road 112 in Round Rock. The donation included a gift of 15 acres, the purchase of 10 acres, and the option for an additional 25 acres that already has been accepted. Construction on the first building began in mid-August.

The new 130,000-square-foot facility will be used for clinical teaching, a simulation center equipped with computer-programmed manikins, student life and student service support, and health science center and HSC-College of Medicine administration. The campus will support other HSC offerings that could include the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing and others.

Approximately 33,000 square feet is slated for use by Lone Star Circle of Care, a federally qualified Community Health Center, to operate a clinic for Williamson County uninsured and underinsured residents. The clinic will function as a major teaching site for the HSC-College of Medicine students.

“The development of a health care hub in northeast Round Rock holds great potential for Central Texas,” said Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw. “By diversifying our economic base to include higher education and health care, we hope to create a more recession-proof economy in our city.”

The HSC already occupies 5,000 square feet at the Old Town Square office complex in Round Rock for administrative offices and student support. Affiliation agreements have also been signed with Lone Star Circle of Care, St. David’s HealthCare, Seton Family of Hospitals, Scott & White University Medical Center and the Texas Life-Sciences Collaboration Center. A startup nonprofit in Georgetown, the Texas Life-Sciences Collaboration Center assists companies in bringing biotechnology products to market.

Additional attendees at the campus dedication included students and faculty from the College of Medicine-Round Rock and construction partners from Avery Centre DevCo, Waterstone Development, Chasco Constructors and Graeber, Simmons & Cowan, Inc.

— Marketing & Communications