UT Health San Antonio broke ground Monday on a new $430 million hospital at the South Texas Medical Center that will focus on the research and treatment of cancer and other complex diseases.
The eight-story, 144-bed hospital will offer specialty care in cancer, orthopedics, urology, and thoracic and bariatric surgery. The facility is set to become a host site for early-phase clinical trials, including state-of-the-art therapies for cancer. The hospital is expected to open in summer of 2024, UT Health San Antonio President Dr. William Henrich said Monday.
“This hospital will be equipped to conduct clinical trials that cannot normally be conducted in community hospitals, and will be a unique site for the clinical training and education” of health care professionals, Henrich said.
The hospital will be built on land donated by the San Antonio Medical Foundation and will be connected to the Mays Cancer Center via a pedestrian sky bridge. The 12.2-acre plot is bordered by Ewing Halsell Drive, Wurzbach Road, and Floyd Curl Drive.
The hospital has been designed to add to UT Health San Antonio’s existing academic capabilities, as well as to work closely with the Mays Cancer Center, said Dr. Robert Hromas, dean of the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at UT Health San Antonio.
“We’ve been looking at models from around the country and world of how one weaves inpatient and outpatient cancer treatments together,” said Dr. Ruben Mesa, executive director of the Mays Cancer Center. “[The new hospital] has been designed from the ground up from what we learned about cancer patients, their needs, and their caretakers’ needs.”
The connection between the new hospital and the Mays Cancer Center will help facilitate “a more fluid” treatment plan for cancer patients, he said.
The new hospital will allow more cancer patients to stay in San Antonio to receive the care they need, including access to experimental treatments, Mesa explained. With South Texas having abnormally high rates of liver, gastric, and pediatric cancers among the Latino population, a hospital like this is a big deal for the entire region, Mesa said.
The new hospital is also expected to expand UT Health San Antonio’s partnership with University Health, Henrich said. The new hospital will be “complementary to existing programs at University Hospital” and will avoid offering the same services, UT Health San Antonio said in its press release.
While University Health offers treatment for local patients needing complex cardiovascular or trauma care or solid-organ transplants, the new UT Health San Antonio hospital will offer stem-cell transplants and other state-of-the-art cancer treatments. While cultivating different areas of expertise, the two systems collaborate, Henrich said. Both UH and UT Health San Antonio hope to expand local capabilities through the opening of the new hospital, he said.
Officials said the new 449,000-square-foot hospital will allow UT Health San Antonio to train more than 50 new medical residents. Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in the press release that the facility will add 800 high-paying jobs to the region.
The hospital design includes a 673-car parking garage and 200-car surface parking lot.