The South Texas Medical Center is one of the pillars of the San Antonio economy. Employing 53,000 San Antonians and receiving over five million patient visits per year, it is the focal point of an industry that delivers more than $30 billion in annual economic impact for our city. Clearly, any conversation about our San Antonio’s future should include the success of the South Texas Medical Center.
Like the city as a whole, the South Texas Medical Center is also experiencing phenomenal growth. The City’s Department of Planning and Community Development has identified the Medical Center as a “regional growth node,” with room for another 50,000 jobs, along with accompanying demands for new and upgraded infrastructure.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio continues to build new facilities to house researchers and students. Methodist Children’s Hospital is expanding its footprint and services dramatically. University Health System opened a new state-of-the-art surgical tower, and the rising biomedical industry was showcased recently as host of the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit, bringing with it top practitioners and researchers from across the globe.
To accommodate the rapid growth and rising profile, the Medical Center Alliance has implemented a master plan dedicated to improving transportation infrastructure and design aesthetics throughout the 900 acres of the Medical Center. As part of that effort, the city partnered with the Alliance to improve the safety and design of road intersections.
In fact, I participated in a ribbon cutting at one of those intersections yesterday, at Hamilton Wolfe and Babcock. New turn lanes, traffic signals and sidewalks will make the intersection safer for pedestrians, bikers and drivers. The project also added new landscaping and upgraded gas and water utilities.
Since 2013, I have also been working with the Medical Center Alliance, the South Texas Medical Foundation, and the medical community-at-large, to integrate our city’s capital improvement strategies and improve safety for pedestrians, motorists, and anyone who works in or visits this important place in our region. We have also begun to integrate a second Medical Center Alliance master plan, which will drive our efforts to make strategic and efficient investments in the area, with economic benefit for all residents in our city.
The Medical Center is one of our region’s most valuable assets, and it has a return on investment that can be measured not just in economic but also profound human impact. We are fortunate to have the collaborative leadership of the Medical Center Alliance and the South Texas Medical Foundation that, with the city, has become a model for public-private partnership of strategic investment in our future.
What do you think? How should San Antonio continue to prioritize investment in the medical community and what should those investments look like?