UT Southwestern is planning to construct a new pediatric hospital campus where the Bass Center buildings are currently located on the medical center’s campus, the hospital-school’s president, Dr. Daniel Podolsky, said in a president’s campus briefing.
“The actual plans for the pediatric campus remain a work in progress but are advancing, I can tell you, in a very compelling way,” Podolsky said, according to a transcript of the briefing published on UT Southwestern’s website.
The new pediatric campus, in partnership with Dallas-based Children’s Health, is still on the drawing board, and the size and scope of the future project have yet to be announced. Draft planning documents indicate the project could cost as much as $2.5 billion, with $1.6 billion going toward construction.
An “implosion” of the Bass Center buildings to make room for the pediatric campus will take place before the end of the year, Podolsky said in the Jan. 24 briefing. The center is across the street from the medical center’s flagship William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital on Harry Hines Blvd.
The relocation of all activities from the Bass Center – which includes medical and dental clinics, a post office, a food court and a pharmacy – is largely complete, although there are some building occupants who will move their activities by the end of March. The 14-acre center consists of two towers and a concourse that connects the buildings.
UT Southwestern and Children’s Health released a joint statement on Jan. 24 citing record population growth and demand for pediatric specialty services in the North Texas region as reasons they are looking into building a new campus. The hospitals released the same statement on Monday when asked about Podolsky’s briefing.
“Specific details on a project of this magnitude are not final, or approved, and may not be for some time,” the statement said.
The hospitals sought inquiries from contractors in January 2022. It’s unclear whether any contracts have been issued or whether the documents are still in line with plans for the project. The original request listed a project completion goal of 2028.
Early proposals suggested the hospital could include 523 beds, a 90-bay emergency department, more than 90 newborn intensive care unit beds and a new labor and delivery program with around 30 beds. The new hospital and additional buildings would replace all other facilities at the current pediatric campus in the Medical District.
UT Southwestern and Children’s Health have a long partnership history. Doctors from UT Southwestern, public medical center and school, provide much of the care at not-for-profit Children’s Health.
Children’s Health has been expanding in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in recent years. The pediatric hospital system broke ground on a major expansion of its Plano medical campus in October 2021, adding a 300,000-square-foot, seven-floor tower and expanding bed capacity from 72 to 212.
Children’s also announced a new medical campus in Prosper in 2019, which will join Fort Worth-based Cook Children’s newly opened medical center in the North Texas city.