Ribbon cut for first building in Round Rock

December 10, 2009

(ROUND ROCK, TX) — A mere 30 months after initially receiving funding from the Legislature to establish a new medical education campus in Williamson County, the Texas A&M Health Science Center (HSC) secured its commitment to Central Texas on Thursday with a ribbon cutting for the first building on its Round Rock campus.

“The opening of this building is a great first step in our commitment to the people of Central Texas to increase the educational offerings for health care professionals,” said Michael D. McKinney, M.D., chancellor of The Texas A&M University System.

The chancellor was joined by State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-District 5; State Rep. Dan Gattis, R-District 20; State Rep. Diana Maldonado, D-District 52; State Rep. Donna Howard, D-District 48; A&M System Board of Regents Chairman Morris E. Foster, Regent Jim Schwertner, Regent Bill Jones and Regent Richard Box; members of the Avery family, who donated land for construction of the campus in the health care and higher education corridor of Williamson County; State of Texas, Williamson County and City of Round Rock officials; community leaders; A&M System administrators; and invited guests.

“Today, we are opening this wonderful new facility, and providing a home base for the students, faculty and staff who began arriving here in 2007,” 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. “From vision to reality, this project demonstrates a remarkable energy and an innovative use of collaboration because none of this would be possible without the support of our many partners – public, private and academic – who have worked quickly and tirelessly to bring the Texas A&M Health Science Center to Williamson County so that we can help meet the needs of Central Texas’ rapidly growing population.”

The Texas Legislature appropriated $9 million in 2007 for an HSC Round Rock campus to offer medical education and in 2009 provided additional funds to support continued expansion efforts. The HSC-College of Medicine and HSC-Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy are providing clinical training for students in Round Rock through rotations in various Williamson County hospitals, clinics, medical practices and pharmacies.

In addition to programmatic offerings from the College of Medicine and Rangel College of Pharmacy, plans are underway for the Round Rock campus to host other HSC colleges, including the College of Nursing and School of Rural Public Health.

“Today offers just a glimpse of what is to come from the Texas A&M Health Science Center,” Foster said. “I know that as they continue to expand and offer more courses, this Round Rock campus can become a force to be reckoned with.”

In January 2008, 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 and the purchase of an additional 35 acres. Construction of the inaugural building on the 50-acre campus began in mid-August 2008.

The new 134,000-square-foot facility will be used for clinical teaching and includes a simulation center equipped with computer-programmed manikins, student life and student service support, administrative offices, and clinical research space for the Texas A&M Health Science Center/Scott & White Diabetes Institute.

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

Following the ribbon cutting, attendees toured the new building, visited with faculty and students, and observed simulation center demonstrations with manikins designed to train students by realistically simulating a range of physiological states and responses. A wing on the third floor of the building is named the “Seton Education Wing” in recognition of the Seton Family of Hospitals, which has pledged $600,000 to support the nursing program in Round Rock. The first floor lecture hall is named the “St. David’s Foundation Lecture Hall” in honor of a St. David’s Foundation $250,000 pledge to support the campus.

Additional attendees at the ribbon cutting and open house included HSC students, faculty and staff and construction partners from Avery Centre DevCo, Waterstone Development, Chasco Constructors and Graeber, Simmons & Cowan, Inc.

— Marketing & Communications