By Eric Althoff
AUSTIN, Texas—Construction on a new major hospital facility in the capital city of Texas can now proceed after an older building was demolished in December, according to KVUE. The old building, the former Austin State Hospital, had been sitting vacant for some time.
The new 380,000-square-foot building is being envisioned as a collaboration between Dell Medical School at the University of Texas and the Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) department. Private rooms and natural lighting are part of the design aesthetic—meant to be calming—and the healthcare facility will also feature exercise areas, arts-and-crafts spaces and various therapy facilities.
In addition, a basketball court, cafeteria, chapel and salon will be among the main features of the main floor.
Over half of the $305 million budget needed to realize the project has already been approved by the Texas Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott. Legislative action on raising the remainder of the needed moneys is ongoing, according to KVUE.
The new facility will have over 200 beds and will focus primarily on mental health. KVUE quoted Texas State Senator Kirk Watson, who said moving the handling of mental illness from the criminal justice arena to the healthcare sector will show a great “return on this investment in personal and public health.”
Construction on the redesign of the plot commenced in October of 2019. The new healthcare buildings are currently scheduled to open in June of 2023.