By Jennifer Maggs
Plans for the creation of a new Medical School in Austin serving the University of Texas have this week been unveiled, with striking artists impressions of the proposed facility being accompanied by an almost imminent start date, Contumacy are proud to reveal.
Set to be located equidistant from the Universities world renowned Frank Erwin Center and the existing medical center at Brackenbridge, in the heart of the cities UT campus- the announcement of the medical school, work upon which is scheduled to commence next year and to be completed and functional by 2017, has marked itself as a celebration worthy matter throughout the University of Texas as a whole.
Aside from the value the inclusion of such a state of the art facility will undoubtedly add to the University of Texas, not to mention its already rather esteemed national and international reputation, much excitement is being drawn from the fact that the center and the subsequent process of its creation, will supply an area of the state which is currently struggling financially with an abundance of workable roles.
On top of the multiple thousand hands-on construction roles created by the announcement, it is currently estimated that 15,000 new jobs will become available at the eventual teaching hospital and medical school combined. With this, one of the USA’s currently most impoverished metropolitan areas is set to receive a much needed and long overdue economic boost.
The Dell Foundation
Contributing a staggering amount of $50 million to the establishment of the new medical school facility, the Michael and Susan Dell foundation have in effect launched the process entirely.
Established in 1999, the foundation operates solely off of the profits of multinational computer conglomerate Dell and has to date contributed in excess of $650 million to causes supportive of outlying youth issues and community in its native United States, as well as India and South Africa.
As well as this $50 million direct injection into the scheme, the foundation have vowed to contribute a further sum of $10 million over the course of the next decade in support of community health quality and access programs in the Austin area, an act sure to provide even further prosperity for the region during the approaching years.
Given the sheer scale of the proposed new medical school, the eventual facility and its operations will note a merger between two southern Texas universities, namely Texas-Pan American and Texas-Brownsville, with the seminary set to become the first of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley.
This area of southern Texas lies right on the border with Mexico, and is subsequently considered to be one of the fastest growing, yet more impoverished areas of the entire United States of America. Incorporating four counties (Starr County, Hidalgo County, Willacy County and Cameron County), the new University here will hope to immediately gain the nationally coveted ‘emerging research University’ status, which would open it up to the possibility of an entire array of monetary grants, both research based and private.
While it is fair to predict that the enrollment vacancy numbers of the medical complex will be reflective of the eventual amount of students who ultimately opt to study there, several other factors must first be taken into account. For example, given the current economic state of Rio Grande Valley, which is comparatively subpar even when taking into account the amount of growth taking place there currently, can it legitimately be expected that all of the students who require paid working roles in order to supplement their studies will be provided for? Everything from accommodation and all of the obligations therein, such as utility bills and even internet and communication packages, to the appropriation and maintenance of academic materials and other necessities, must in fact be considered. With this, it may prove necessary to look far beyond the projected enrolled student figure of 28,000 and instead weigh up some contingent eventualities.
On a far more positive note, the facility is estimated to generate some $11 million in research expenditures, a figure which will undoubtedly prove invaluable towards the countless American medical research programs it acts to fund over the coming decades. As well as this, the Rio Grande Valley is surely set to receive what Sen. Eddie Lucio of Brownsville described as ‘new opportunities for commerce and scientific research’, which one may expect can only lead to an economic transformation of immeasurable proportions for the struggling area.