First Bryan, Now Round Rock for Health Science Center

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Texas A&M System Regents signed off on new property for an A&M Health Science Center campus in Round Rock.

Twenty-five acres with an option for another 25 will be used for clinical medical school training, along with moving public health training out of Austin to Williamson County.

"Our job as a land grant university is to make sure that good health care and good education is available to Texas," said Nancy Dickey, the president of the Health Science Center, "so I would say when you can tell me every Texan has access to the care they need, and qualified professionals to provide it, then we can sit on our laurels."

Friday's announcement marks another major milestone for the Health Science Center. It was earlier this month that ground was broken on the new main campus for the center, which will be located in Bryan.

"The State of Texas is growing extraordinarily fast," Dickey said. "We rank in the lower quartile in terms of numbers of doctors, numbers of nurses. We have a long way to go catch up in terms of training enough health professionals, or for that matter, having adequate facilities to care for all the people in Texas."

The following is a press release from the Texas A&M Health Science Center concerning the property acquisition near Round Rock:

(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — On Friday, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents accepted a donation of land by the Avery family. As a result, the Texas A&M Health Science Center now has a permanent site for its Round Rock campus.

The donation includes a gift of 15 acres, the purchase of 10 acres, and the option for an additional 25 acres in the future.

“The Avery family land donation is an important step in bringing top-notch medical services and health care training to the Williamson County area,” said A&M System Chancellor Michael D. McKinney, M.D. “We are grateful for their generosity, which will enable the Texas A&M Health Science Center to bring its medical expertise to an area with rapid population growth and expanded health care needs.”

The 80th Texas Legislature appropriated $9 million for an HSC Round Rock campus. The HSC-College of Medicine plans to provide clinical training for third- and fourth-year medical students in Round Rock beginning in June.

Initial plans for the property – located west of FM 1460 and south of County Road 112 – include a building for teaching and housing HSC-COM administration. Future plans include relocating the HSC-School of Rural Public Health classes currently offered in North Austin and support of clinical training for future pharmacy students.

“The Avery family and the City of Round Rock have both embraced the concept of a planned higher education/health care corridor,” 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. “It is extraordinarily rewarding to be part of this wonderful community expansion.”

“For the Texas A&M Health Science Center, this generous gift creates the opportunity to build a permanent home for the health professions training that the State Legislature asked us to place in Round Rock,” Dr. Dickey continued. “The health care of this rapidly growing area will be enhanced by local training of medical professionals, having teaching facilities in the community, and having local clinicians involved in teaching the next generation of doctors, pharmacists, public health professionals and others.”

Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., Jean and Thomas McMullin Dean of Medicine, said: “The Avery gift is a terrific statement of citizen support for the Health Science Center and the College of Medicine. Through research, education and community partnership, the A&M College of Medicine’s educational efforts will help serve the increasing health care needs of Williamson County and Round Rock.”

Already, the HSC has leased 5,000 square feet at Old Town Square office complex in Round Rock for administrative offices and student support. The HSC has signed affiliation agreements with Scott & White University Medical Center, St. David’s HealthCare, Seton Family of Hospitals and Lone Star Circle of Care.

Kathryn J. Kotrla, M.D., chair of psychiatry and behavioral science at the HSC-COM, is the associate dean of the Round Rock campus.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to provide sophisticated and individualized medical education to the next generation of Texas physicians,” Dr. Kotrla said. “The HSC-COM Round Rock is a remarkable place to pair physicians in training with experienced, caring Williamson County physician educators. Everyone benefits by bringing medical education to Williamson County. This powerful community-academic partnership ties our Texas A&M medical education to the goal of exceptional health care as envisioned by Central Texas legislators and community leaders.”

The Avery family – Charles, John and Nelson Avery and Christina Avery Fell – is a major donor to higher education and health care in Williamson County. The family has made donations for a branch campus of Texas State University-San Marcos, the Seton Williamson Foundation and Austin Community College.

Under terms of the contract approved at the BOR regular meeting, the 10-acre purchase would be at $1,306,800, or $3 per square foot. The fair market value of the 25-acre property is estimated at between $8.17 million and $11.43 million.

The Avery family then will grant the A&M System an option to purchase an adjacent 25 acres anytime in the next 10 years. Purchase price will be $3 per square foot, increasing 50 cents per square foot each year and culminating at $8 per square foot at the end of the option.

“In order to meet the demand for more physicians, the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine is a national example of successful medical school program expansion through community partnerships with physicians and health care systems,” Dr. Colenda said. “The partnerships are designed to maintain high quality teaching, research and health care delivery in the service of community health. There is clear evidence that health care outcomes improve in those communities where medical education and health profession’s education is part of the fabric of health care delivery.”

The Texas A&M Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its seven colleges located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, 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.