By Sierra Vela
By 2016, children growing up on the Southside will be able to continue their education from Pre-K4 to a professional school of their choice.
Instead of deteriorating after the U.S. Air Force left in 2011, Brooks City Base has become a thriving community. It already has a number of successful educational centers including Pre-K 4 SA, Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering and Texas A&M University.
Now it can add a medical school to that list.
Earlier this week, The University of the Incarnate Word formalized its plans with Brooks City Base to build a new School of Osteopathic Medicine with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
In the first phase, three buildings in the northwest corner of the Brooks City Base Campus in an area known as “The Hill” will be transformed into classrooms, labs, offices, a student center and an auditorium for the medical school.
By August 2016, UIW plans to have 500 full time students enrolled in the medical school with 50 full time faculty members, 215 part-time faculty members, plus staff and administration working on the new campus.
Eventually, UIW’s campus can be expanded to seven buildings and over 600 parking spaces.
The University fully intends to make the most out of this newly acquired space.
UIW will ultimately bring a diabetes clinic, a Physician’s Assistant program, a physical therapy program, a school of engineering, and upper division nursing classes to the campus, President Dr. Lou Agnese said.
Brooks Academy, as a STEM-accredited charter school, will serve as a natural feeder into many of these programs.
UIW will even offer an accelerated program for UIW freshman that gives them automatic acceptance into the medical school or nursing, optometry, pharmacy or physician assistant programs provided they maintain high GPAs in their undergraduate classes.
The addition of the medical school and the influx of students, faculty and staff that come with it will serve as an additional catalyst to the growth Brooks City Base has already seen.
Demand for both retail and housing development will increase, bringing even more jobs and economic growth to the area.
“This campus and the Southside is one of them most exciting places to be in San Antonio right now. You can truly feel the energy and see the momentum,” District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran said.