Save the historic buildings at the Austin State Hospital!

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Evan Thompson
Evan Thompson signed this petition

We support the construction of a 21st-century brain health facility at the historic Austin State Hospital (“ASH”) that is surrounded by grassy parks, pecan groves, and restored historic buildings built between 1860 and 1960 that are part of a National Register Historic District in the heart of Austin. The historic buildings can house medical students, nonprofit offices and other services in support of the brand new facility nestled within a nationally significant cultural landscape.

We oppose the demolition of the historic buildings at ASH, including the only two surviving structures on the ASH campus built for African-American patients (1936 African-American Women’s Dorm and 1952 African-American Dining Hall), the 1899 Power Plant, the 1917 Laundry and Dormitory, the 1930 Mattress Factory and the 1937 Ice Plant.

On Thursday, October 3, 2019, officials from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services and Dell Medical School will celebrate a long-overdue groundbreaking for just such a new facility dedicated to 21st-century brain health at ASH. This is an important investment that Texans should be proud of, as the current patient facilities at ASH are embarrassingly out of date and reflect poorly on the high quality of service that the dedicated medical and mental health professionals at ASH thanklessly devote themselves to so that some of central Texas’ poorest and most mentally ill patients can be cared for.  

What is shameful to us is that the site selected for this new facility will result in the demolition of the 1936 African-American Women’s Dorm, the 1952 African-American Dining Hall, the 1917 Laundry and Dormitory, the 1930 Mattress Factory and the 1937 Ice Plant, all of which have been recognized by the Texas Historical Commission as eligible for inclusion in a National Register Historic District on the historic ASH campus.

We call on our state elected and appointed officials to ensure that no historic buildings are demolished in order to make room for the new facility, as the ASH campus is large enough to embrace new buildings alongside a restored historic district.