Children's Comes to Mueller
City breaks ground on new hospital and a new future for the old airport
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Children's Hospital to be called the Children's Medical Center of Central Texas brought hundreds of well-wishers, dignitaries, and former young patients to the city's former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport Sunday afternoon. Bishop Gregory Aymond of the Austin Diocese blessed the site of the new $175 million facility, owned by the Seton Healthcare Network, which currently leases and manages the city-owned Children's facility next to Brackenridge Hospital.
Children's operations will fold into the new medical center as part of an agreement, or truce, hammered out between Seton and the city. When completed in 2007, the 169-bed facility will be about three times the size of the existing Children's and will provide health care services to children in 46 counties. Once Children's empties out, Brackenridge Hospital will be able to move some of its cramped operations to the vacant building next door. Both Brackenridge and the existing Children's Hospital building will come under the control of the new city-county hospital district, which voters approved in the May 15 election.
Also, as Mayor Will Wynn noted at Sunday's ceremony, the dirt-turning exercise also served as an unofficial kickoff toward turning the entire 700-acre Mueller property into a model master-planned community. Among the attendees were many of the neighborhood leaders and residents for whom a new Mueller has been a goal for years, and in some cases decades. The Seton deal is the first to involve as a participant Catellus Development, the city's designated master developer for the Mueller project. The City Council is expected to approve both zoning for the entire Mueller site and a final agreement with Catellus in upcoming weeks.