SAN ANTONIO – A brand-new hospital will meet the medical needs of women and children and create job opportunities for people throughout our region, all at no cost to taxpayers.
It's an idea years in the making, and, for the first time, KSAT got a sweeping view of a 12-story state-of-the-art hospital for women and children to be built on University Hospital's main campus in the South Texas Medical Center.
Project leaders hope to break ground in November and have the hospital built by 2022.
A small visitors parking garage next to the emergency room will be knocked down to make way for the new hospital. A new 900-spot parking garage will be attached to the facility.
"South Texas is one of the fastest-growing places in the nation, and we're certainly seeing that with higher birth rates than in other parts of the country. So, making sure we can keep up with that need for services," said Leni Kirkman, spokesperson for University Health System.
Kirkman said the main need is space for families and technology.
"They'll have two different emergency rooms — one dedicated just for children, another for women — so women who are delivering babies, also women who are having gynecology problems. Then, the patient rooms on the floors will be for NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) babies, the newborn nursery, moms who have delivered their baby and children who may need hospitalization for a wide variety of problems," Kirkman said.
As for funding, University Health System has saved cash reserves and refinanced bonds used for a 2014 project to build a new sky tower for adult patients.
"Because of favorable market conditions, they refinanced a lot, if not all, of those bonds, and we've taken the savings from that and been able to apply it to this project," Kirkman said.
That means no new money is needed from taxpayers.
And there's more good news. A $500 million construction project means there will be a lot of jobs to fill.
The hospital will need more nurses and doctors, and lots of subcontractors in all trades will be needed to help build the facility. That's why, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, there will be a job information event for any subcontractors interested.
The event will be held at St. Philip's College at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive.
The current women's and children's services are in two buildings that were originally built in the 1960s and 1980s, respectively, and renovated in the 2000s.
Those buildings will become office space when the new hospital opens.