A District Built For Health

The Dell Medical School (DMS) District is one of the few districts recognized by Sustainable SITES Initiative. It is composed of 16.2 acres in central Austin traversed by an urban stream. A variety of ecological and health oriented sustainable features in the landscape design contributed to the SITES recognition.

The health district’s formal plantings make it an urban, native plant oasis that provides ecological and health benefits while reducing irrigation needs by over 75%.The project manages the 80th percentile rainfall event or approximately 46,939 cubic feet of water through a combination of rain gardens, pervious pavers, rainwater harvesting, and a green roof. Stormwater management features were designed as site amenities to connect visitors to the local climate and hydrology. Outdoor water use has been reduced by over 75% through careful plant selection, soil restoration, real-time irrigation monitoring, and reuse of rainwater and A/C condensate. The Waller Creek corridor was 100% restored to native plant communities representative of the Edwards Plateau and Blackland Prairie ecosystems. The project reduced the energy used for transportation, promoted regional identity and supported the local economy because 68% of materials costs went towards regional materials. The University successfully relocated 12 trees, including nine heritage live oaks, from building pad sites. The site will be maintained with manual or electric powered rather than fossil fuel powered equipment.

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