A $899.4 Million Plan to Double the Size of University Hospital and Revitalize the Historic Robert B. Green Campus

November 09, 2009

Larger than the construction of the Alamodome, SBC (now AT&T) Center, and expansion of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, combined, University Health System’s Target 2012: Capital Improvement Program is one of the largest construction projects in San Antonio history. At a public forum held November 9, officials explained how the $899.4 million project will position the academic medical center and Level I trauma center at University Hospital to meet the hospital needs of our growing region well into the future, and expand University Health System - Robert B. Green Campus, to provide access to the latest outpatient diagnostic and treatment options in a convenient location.

Bexar County Commissioner for Precinct 2 Paul Elizondo hosted the event at Jefferson High School. “University Health System, owned by the taxpayers of Bexar County, is very different from other hospitals in our community,” he explained. “It is the Level I trauma center for adults and children injured in Bexar County, and it has a mission to provide excellent healthcare to all, regardless of their ability to pay.”

He said aging facilities at both locations are significantly challenging the system’s ability to successfully carry out its mission. “The medical teams are stretched beyond their limits,” added University Health System Board of Managers Chairman Robert L. Jimenez, MD, explaining how the Bexar County Commissioners Court responded to the critical need to expand the hospital and downtown health center in the summer of 2008 by approving the master facility and finance plans. “This program will provide an important economic boost by offering local businesses with opportunities to participate in the construction and, once completed, it will enable University Health System to fulfill its unique mission well into the future.”

University Health System President/CEO George B. Hernández provided an overview of the strategic planning process that served as the foundation for the capital improvement program. “The Emergency Center at University Hospital was built more than 25 years ago to handle 35,000 patients a year. San Antonio and South Texas have grown significantly over the past two decades and today we are seeing 70,000 patients in this same space,” he explained. “We started an extensive and collaborative planning process in 2005 to find the best solution to reduce overcrowding and long wait times in our Emergency Center.”

Throughout the planning process, the University Health System Board of Managers directed Hernández and the Master Facilities Planning team to ensure the final recommendation focused on investing in facilities that support:

  • Teaching the next generation of health professionals
  • Supplementing tax revenue with patient revenue to sustain fiscal strength
  • Generating new knowledge through best practices and research
  • Expanding access to care through partnerships

University Health System Vice President of Facilities Development and Project Management Mark Webb outlined the components of the program, which include a new trauma tower at University Hospital and a large treatment and diagnostic center at University Health System - Robert B. Green Campus, in addition to expanded parking and renovations at both campuses. Groundbreakings at both locations will begin in 2010. “The first of these new buildings will be up and running toward the end of 2012,” he explained. “Once we get started we will offer live streaming video on the CIP website through a series of strategically placed cameras so our patients and community can watch our progress.”

Certificates of obligation (including $246 million in Build America Bonds, part of the 2009 Federal Stimulus Package) will fund about 58 percent of the total $899.4 million building program. Twenty-nine percent will come from a reduction in maintenance and operations taxes that are being transferred to the interest & sinking fund. The final 13 percent of the project will be funded with $120 million in University Health System capital reserves.

Target 2012 projects total $899.4 million and include:

  • A state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment facility at University Health System - Robert B. Green Campus, the location of the historic Robert B. Green Hospital, which opened its doors nearly 100 years ago (the new center is expected to open in 2012)
  • A one-million-square-foot tower at University Hospital, to open in 2013, including:
    • A new, larger Emergency Center
    • More operating rooms
    • Up to 713 single-patient rooms (to protect privacy and maximize infection control)
    • Increased parking at both locations, including a 3,000-space garage at University Hospital
    • Renovations to existing buildings at both locations.

More information on University Health System’s Target 2012: Capital Improvement Program is available online.