Just behind the Health Discovery Building runs Waller Creek, an urban spring with dedicated green space that provides environmental and human health benefits to students, educators, patients and the Austin-area community. A bridge over Waller Creek connects the Health Discovery Building and adjoining Health Transformation Building with the Dell Seton Medical Center and other areas of the health district.
As part of the 16.2-acre development of Dell Medical School, landscape designers revitalized the creek corridor to improve its ecological function. The area recently earned a Gold Certification from the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a sustainability-focused rating system. Restoration of the creek was an 18-month process that included the removal of invasive species, stream bank stabilization and the re-vegetation of diverse native plant communities.
Sustainable features in the landscape design include:
- Outdoor water use reduction by more than 75% through careful plant selection, soil restoration, irrigation monitoring, and reuse of rainwater and air conditioning condensate.
- Exclusive use of native plants representative of the Edwards Plateau and Blackland Prairie ecosystems.
- Use of regional materials (68%) to reduce the energy used for transportation, promote regional identity and support the local economy.
- Site maintenance through manual or electric power rather than equipment powered by fossil fuels.