San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

COVER: The Avery Building at Texas State University’s Round Rock Higher Education Center. SUBMITTED PHOTO


ROUND ROCKSt. David’s Foundation has donated $5 million to Texas State University to help fund construction of a new Health Professions Building at the university’s Round Rock Campus.

The Austin-based foundation’s gift is eligible for up to $5 million in matching funds from the Texas Research Incentive Program, and follows the Texas Legislature’s signing of the Legislature’s bill approval of $48.6 million toward construction of the $67.5 million facility.

“We are extremely grateful for the St. David’s Foundation’s continuing generosity and its commitment to advancing matters of healthcare for the public good,” Texas State President Denise M. Trauth said. “This $5 million gift for the new health professions building in Round Rock will allow us to expand important health related programs and increase badly needed healthcare delivery to a fast-growing population of Texas.”

Enrollment in the Texas State’s College of Health Professions has increased more than 100 percent in the last five years, creating an urgent need for additional space. The Health Professions Building will accommodate the relocation of three programs from San Marcos–communication disorders, physical therapy and respiratory care–along with their associated research labs and public clinics. The new building’s 107,000 square feet will provide enough instructional space to accommodate a 35 percent enrollment increase in those programs. The building is expected to open in 2018.

“At St. David’s Foundation, we really like to invest in projects that address future health care needs facing our community. Providing this funding is a wise investment for our area’s future, as it will support more students who are pursuing health care careers,” said Earl Maxwell, St. David’s Foundation’s chief executive officer. “We are delighted that Texas State will be able to leverage our dollars to bring even more support for the project.”

The Central Texas area of Austin, Round Rock and San Marcos is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation over the past four years, yet the available health professions workforce is insufficient to meet current needs, and well below the projected increase in demand of 30 to 35 percent over the next 10 years. By 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas will need approximately 16,000 physical therapists, an increase of more than 4,100 from 2010 levels; 14,000 respiratory therapists, an increase of 3,700; and 15,000 speech-language pathologists, an increase of 3,600.

The public clinics will increase access for low-income patients, particularly children, with a speech-language-hearing clinic and labs for speech kinematics, cognitive-communication, and fluency and child language development. There will also be a physical therapy clinic; an enhanced sleep center which will allow for pediatric sleep studies; and a gross anatomy lab, which could be expanded to accommodate program growth or for a partnership with another institution.

The $5 million gift will be delivered over two years. Prior to the current gift, Texas State has received more than $8 million in gifts and pledges from St. David’s, including $6 million in 2006 to establish the St. David’s School of Nursing.

With $57 million now committed, Texas State will continue to seek additional philanthropic gifts to fund the remaining construction cost of the Health Professions Building.


CORRECTION 12:28 p.m. JUNE 25: This story should have said that the Legislature approved $48.6 million, not $47 million, toward construction of a health professions building expected to cost $67.5 million facility, not $67 million.

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