Baylor Scott & White Health plans to open a full-service hospital in the Oak Hill area in Southwest Austin, on 11 acres where a golf range operated until last week.
If built, it would be Baylor Scott & White’s second hospital in Travis County, joining an existing one in Lakeway.
The hospital would be at 5243 U.S. 290, where the Oak Hill Golf Range closed Sunday after 30 years of operations, according to the driving range’s website. The website said the property was being sold to to make way for development of a Baylor Scott & White hospital. The property is valued at $2.9 million this year by the Travis Central Appraisal District.
Under the site’s existing zoning, changing its use from a driving range to a hospital required city approval of a conditional use site plan. On April 11, the city of Austin Planning Commission approved the change in use, said Sylvia Arzola, public information manager in the city’s Development Services Department.
Arzola said no City Council action is needed for the project to move forward. The next step will require the hospital’s agents to submit a more detailed site plan spelling out the location of buildings, driveways, parking and more.
In a written statement, Baylor Scott & White said: “We are currently exploring an opportunity in Southwest Austin on a piece of property located within 7 miles of our newest clinics in Circle C and downtown. We’ve had discussions with local neighborhood residents and are participating in the entitlement process with the city… Since the project is not final, we’d prefer to share additional details at a later date. We will certainly announce specifics as our plans are confirmed.”
In recent months, Austin attorney Henry Gilmore with DuBois, Bryant & Campbell has briefed the Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods on the proposed project, which is referred to as Barton Creek Medical in documents filed with the city of Austin.
In a March 8 article in Community Impact, Gilmore said construction on a 50-bed hospital could start by the first quarter of next year, with a targeted opening by early 2019.
“Baylor is very excited about the opportunity to bring this project to Oak Hill,” Gilmore was quoted as saying. “We think it will be a significant first-class addition to Oak Hill, one that will provide quality health care services to the community.”
Documents filed with the city of Austin said plans call for a 4-story building with 86,666 square feet of floor area. An off-site parking garage on an adjacent site is providing 110 spaces to satisfy the parking requirement for the hospital use, the filing said.
“One of the stated goals of the Oak Hill neighborhood plan was to encourage more doctors and medical professionals to locate in Oak Hill, and we think this hospital will help meet that goal,” Gilmore said in the March 8 article.
In the same article, Brian Jarrett, Baylor Scott & White development manager, said the goal is to build “a full-service community hospital that is a more innovative solution to health care.”
“This is not an emergency room on steroids or a standalone (emergency department),” Jarrett said.
Formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, Baylor Scott & White has continued to expand its footprint in Central Texas. The health care system now has more than 20 clinics and four hospitals throughout Travis and Williamson counties.
Deke Jones, media relations manager for Baylor Scott & White, said hospital officials are continuing to evaluate prospects for a hospital at the Oak Hill site, but there are no final plans.
“We’re always evaluating opportunities to better serve our community,” Jones said. “At this point we’re not in a position to say one way or another. We want to have finalized materials. We want to be clear, definitive.”
In an April 7 letter to Gilmore, the Oak Hill neighborhood group said it “fully supports” the project that Gilmore and hospital representatives presented at a March 8 meeting of its members.
“The project as represented will comply with all applicable water quality and environmental regulations and provide a much needed healthcare resource for the community,” wrote Darryl Pruett, president of the Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods. “While I understand your client’s inability, due to space constraints, to commit to any further community amenities such as a potential location for a park and ride, I do look forward to continuing our dialogue regarding how your client can work with the community.”