The two entities estimated a construction budget of US$1.6 billion and a total project cost of US$2.5 billion, according to original solicitation documents obtained by the CEO Magazine. (The project was first reported last year by the Strategic Partnerships Inc. website, which tracks large procurement projects across the country.)
The hospitals released contractor solicitation documents in January 2022 and were targeting completion of the project by 2028, as per the original solicitation.
“The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Texas Child Health System, on behalf of the Joint Pediatric Enterprise, are requesting statements of qualifications for the selection of an architect/engineer firm for the New Pediatric Campus,” reads the abstract. executive.
The documents describe a new 532-bed pediatric hospital, a 90-bin emergency department, more than 90 neonatal intensive care unit beds, and services to support a new labor and delivery program with approximately 30 beds. None of the health systems responded to an email requesting confirmation of these details. As the project is in its early stages, the specifications are likely to change. The current main campus in Dallas has 490 beds.
In an internal email to UT Southwestern staff last fall, President Dr. Daniel Podolsky mentioned the new campus among other ongoing developments at UTSW. He wrote that planning for the new pediatric campus “will be accelerated as our joint pediatric expertise allows our two organizations to work together to provide care for children and support their families. The new hospital and expanded outpatient services will further our strategic pediatric care plans and strengthen our longstanding partnership with Children’s.”
An agreement with a supplier was supposed to be executed last May, and an 18-month planning and design process was set to begin last June. As per UT Southwestern’s supplier bidding portal, this RFQ has been awarded. A UT Southwestern spokesperson did not respond to an email requesting comment on “design and other related services for a new children’s hospital in Dallas” on Monday.
Instead, Children’s Health and UTSW released a joint statement on Monday night that said:
Our joint pediatric company is always looking for opportunities to strengthen capacity to provide care in response to record population growth and demand for pediatric specialty services in North Texas. To meet these needs, we are exploring a possible new pediatric campus. Specific details of a project of this magnitude are not final or approved, and may take some time. We look forward to sharing accurate, finalized information with the community if approved by our institutions and associated councils.
According to the documents’ original timeline, the “schematic design documents” were due to be submitted to the Board of Regents for approval next month. The final “design development documents” were due to be submitted to the regents in August, and construction was originally planned to begin next year. A new schedule for the project was not immediately available.
The original application documents also say that the new facility is set to replace all services offered at the current hospital and bring services from other facilities to the new campus. The project description included plans for a new campus masterplan, an administrative building for clinical and support staff, an outpatient clinic with 250 exam rooms, a utility plant to support the campus, at least one parking lot with 6,500 spaces, and other infrastructure elements. Whether these details will be included in the final plans remains to be seen.
Children’s Health was founded in 1913, growing and expanding to its 1967 location with 130 beds. In 2008, Children’s approved the construction of a campus in Plano, which now has 72 beds. In 2014, the organization changed its name to Children’s Health. It currently serves 800,000 visits a year.
The hospital is unlikely to be built on the exact site of the existing campus to avoid disruptions in service, but the joint venture with UTSW makes the new site likely to be located somewhere in the Medical District. The area has many open spaces, especially north of the current campus near Inwood Boulevard and Harry Hines Boulevard. Final design plans have yet to be approved.
The Medical District has been full of construction projects. In December, the state began construction on a new psychiatric hospital across the street from Children’s Health Dallas. The project received $282.5 million from the state, and Children’s Health donated $200 million to support a pediatric psychiatric ward. It will have 296 beds, 96 of which are reserved for children. That state hospital is expected to finish construction in 2025.
A Texas Public Information Act request to review documents related to the new pediatric hospital filed last week has yet to be granted by UT Southwestern. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
Will is the editor-in-chief of CEO magazine and publisher of D CEO Healthcare. He wrote about health…