UT Austin may break ground on new medical school next year

The University of Texas (UT) at Austin has a reputation for excellence that it has earned from its faculty members and students. This university has a student enrollment of about 51,000, and this number could grow if the school follows through on its plans to expand its presence. Additionally, those who are pursuing several of the homes for sale in Austin could be impacted by the school's growth.

According to The Daily Texan, UT Austin officials are expecting to break ground on a new medical school in 2013. The announcement comes after Travis County residents accepted a proposal to increase property taxes collected by the area's hospital district from 7.89 cents to 12.9 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

"We will build a great medical school for Austin and Central Texas," Steven Leslie, the university's executive vice president and provost, told the news source.

Where will the medical school be located?
Leslie noted that university officials are currently laying the groundwork for the school's development. He said that the two medical school buildings are likely to be constructed near University Medical Center Brackenridge, but no plans have been finalized.

Meanwhile, UT Austin representatives are in the process of appointing a committee of faculty members and health officials to choose a dean for the school.

The university must also develop strategies for the school's academic infrastructure and submit them for accreditation. Leslie noted that this process could take roughly three years.

UT President William Powers Jr. said that the university could begin enrolling students in the medical school in 2015 or 2016. However, he stated that the university will try to avoid an aggressive timeline, and the school could be completed by the end of the decade.

How will the school impact Austin residents?
Many students enjoy UT Austin because it offers 17 colleges and schools for them to explore. The addition of a medical school may further enhance the university's reputation, and could even drive more local residents to pursue healthcare jobs.

In September 2012, the unemployment rate in the Austin area was 5.3 percent, which was 2.5 percent lower than the national average during that period. The region's health services industry has displayed consistent growth during 2012, as the total workforce in this job sector increased from 93,100 workers to 94,600 employees between April 2012 and September 2012.

Many newcomers could also pursue the educational opportunities at the new medical school. If the university can attract some of the top educators, it could draw in students from across the globe. These students can help boost the local economy, as they will require housing and amenities.

Why will newcomers want to stay in Austin?
Austin is a well-educated city, which is reflected in U.S. Census Bureau data.

Research shows that 44.1 percent of Austin residents 25 years and older had bachelor's degrees from 2006 to 2010. This figure was 18.3 percent higher than the state's average during that time frame.

While the city is filled with an eclectic mix of residents, many people decide to settle down in Austin because the area offers ample opportunities. City officials are constantly looking for new ways to improve the region, and continue to pursue initiatives to enhance the quality of life here.

Local citizens ranked Austin's services above the national average in 41 of 46 categories in a  2011 study. A survey consultant noted that Austin is moving in the right direction, but this could be just the beginning, as the city will continue to explore new ways to improve.