UT spokesman David Bates says public misperceptions about the Mental Sciences Institute forced UT to cancel plans to build it on a four acre site on South MacGregor, next to the Harris County Psychiatric Center. Bates says nearby residents were under the mistaken impression it would be an outpatient clinic and they didn't want it near their homes.
"They misunderstood the nature of the project, and the fact that it wasn't going to be intrusive on the neighborhood, to the extent that perhaps a commercial development or residential development might be."
In any event, UT gave in to the protests and gave up on the South MacGregor location three years ago. Now they've finally unloaded this prime property just off the South Freeway for four and a half million dollars. Bates says they'll build the institute on what's called UT's south campus on the other side of the medical center, where some other UT projects are in the works.
"We also are in the process of planning and building a new home for our UT Dental Branch. And we've also got funding for a new biomedical research and education center which will be a home for stem cell research."
Bates says the move is probably for the best, because it means the Mental Sciences Institute will be part of a complex of UT health facilities now under construction on Cambridge Lane, between Holcombe and OST adjacent to the VA Medical Center. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.