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AUSTIN-Children’s Hospital of Austin is putting the finishing touches on a final phase of a $24.4-million expansion project.

The Children’s Health Plaza, a 32,000-sf project, will be ready to occupy in early 2001. The plaza, which adjoins the hospital at 601 E. 15th St., will house an outpatient clinic for the hospital’s cancer and blood disorder programs and provide office space for 23 pediatric sub-specialists.

Earlier phases of the project had included the renovation and expansion of the hospital’s surgical services area and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the opening of the Dell Children’s Imaging Center and the addition of a new parking garage with 300 spaces for visitors. Architectural firm Paige Sutherland Paige had completed the design and DPR Construction has been the general contractor.

A majority of the project’s funding from Seton Healthcare Network, which operates Children’s Hospital and Austin’s Brackenridge Hospital. Approximately $7 million came from private donors. The City of Austin has provided a $1 million tax incentive in the form of a reduction in the hospital’s lease payment to the city.

Children’s Hospital of Austin cares for approximately 65,000 children annually. The hospital has a 46-county service area, according to a hospital marketing source. “The expansion will help us to provide more to our service area and prevent patients and families from having to travel to Dallas or Houston,” a hospital spokeswoman told Globest.com.

“So many people are moving to Austin that it is sometimes hard to get the message to everyone that we do have a hospital dedicated solely to children,” says a source with Children’s Hospital of Austin Foundation, which oversees hospital fundraising. “The expansion project and fundraising helped keep the hospital in the forefront and bring its existence to the attention of newcomers.”

Seton Healthcare Network operates 28 other health care facilities in Central Texas. Seton is a member of Ascension Health, the nation’s largest non-profit health network with more than 87,000 employees.

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