Tulsa County commissioners on Monday approved $4 million of federal stimulus money to go toward a big expansion at the OSU Medical Center downtown.
It is the county's biggest commitment of federal money from the American Rescue Plan so far.
Tulsa County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Stan Sallee said there is still more than $100 million left to spend over the next few years and commissioners are open to more big projects.
Monday’s move by the county commissioners marked another investment into the expansion at OSU Medical Center. The project is happening because of a partnership between city, state and federal dollars, along with private donors including The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation. Commissioners decided to pitch in $4 million of the more than $120 million the county is receiving from the American Rescue Plan.
"It's a tremendous amount of money. And we're trying to be very selective on where that money is spent,” Sallee said.
The announcement for this expansion was first made in February 2020. It was part of the Fiscal Year 2021 President’s Budget submitted to Congress and signed into law by former President Donald Trump in December 2020.
The expansion involves remodeling two buildings at 7th and Houston downtown into a VA hospital, and building a brand new psychiatric hospital. Sallee said this project would have gone on without the $4 million, but this money will allow for the expansion to be even bigger and help more people.
“This was an opportunity to expand the psychiatric hospital from 50 bed to 100 bed - also needing to expand the parking garage as well and infrastructure improvements on the project,” Sallee said.
OSU Center for Health Sciences President Johnny Stephens said he is looking forward to the new jobs for healthcare workers and opportunities for students.
"It'll raise our ability to bring in physicians by 100. And that'll be exciting. That's not something that you get to do very often,” Stephens said.
Construction is expected to start in the next three or four months.
Tulsa County Commissioners on Monday also approved the use of this federal money for several other projects, including one in Jenks and another in Broken Arrow. The county said to date, it has approved $14.2 million from the American Rescue Plan, which is allocated to 13 projects.