A look at the underground 'Rock Room' at UMCB

It's a piece of Austin history. A piece of the oldest public hospital in the state, and it's unknown to most.

It's a piece of Austin history and a piece of the oldest public hospital in the state.

The 'Rock Room' at University Medical Center Brackenridge houses a giant, limestone bedrock. KVUE took a tour of the room ahead of the hospital's move to a new facility on Sunday, May 21. 

To get to the 'Rock Room, you have to go down the elevator then go through several long hallways, past heavy equipment, down wooden stairs and into a dark room, which is lit by one fluorescent light.

A huge, limestone bedrock fills the room.

"It's 30 feet tall by 75 by 100. It's huge," Central Health Vice President Juan Garza estimated. 

"This is my first time seeing the 'Rock Room' and it's amazing," said Brackenridge employee Kristin Montera. "It's exactly what I expected, but more."

Austin's history with this compressed limestone bedrock goes back to the 1960s when the city was supposed to receive a federal grant for half the hospital.

"The federal government backed out of their deal, so we were left with insufficient funding," Garza said. "So the hospital took longer than expected to build."

So when they finally started to develop the basement, patients were already on some of the floors.

"When they got to the section, rather than disturb the patients who were already being served in the hospital on the existing floors, they just decided to not go through it because it involved some blasting and noise so they just left it in place," Garza said.

The property's owners said most of the buildings will be demolished including the 'Rock Room,' which will likely become a parking garage.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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