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EDINBURG, Aug. 6 -The City of Edinburg has joined the effort to develop a state of the art conference center next year at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.

On Wednesday evening, council members approved a development agreement between the City and DHR that should see the Edinburg Medical Conference Center operational within 18 months, according to city documents.

Under the agreement, the city will kick in $2.25 million from the Restricted Medical Authority Appropriations Fund, which are proceeds from the sale of the now defunct Edinburg Hospital. DHR was hoping for $4 million from the City.

"It will definitely assist us and the medical community by utilizing the facility for medical training, symposiums and conferences," Edinburg City Manager J.J. Rodriguez told the Guardian. "Doctors can be trained there and avoid moving out of the region."

According to Rodriguez, the 54,000 square foot medical conference center will generate about 290 jobs in the Rio Grande Valley. The facility would be comprised of a 552-seat conference room, a 620-seat capacity ballroom, and an 800 square-foot state of the art auditorium that could be the home to the Rio Grande Valley Symphony Orchestra or ballet performances. A proposed hotel is also slated for construction next to the facility.

DHR first unveiled its plans to the city for the proposed Medical Conference Center with a presentation by the Warren Group, principal architect of the facility, on June 16.

At the meeting architects emphasized that the facility would provide a venue to the medical community to inform the Rio Grande Valley of medical resources and procedures available in the area. It would also support health awareness programs in a state of the art medical campus, and enhance medical education programs by partnering with local universities and colleges.

"Having to go out of town to take our families to get quality and dignified medical care is a thing of the past," said Laura Nassri Warren, principal architect with the Warren Group who gave a roughly 10 minute presentation to the Council.

"What else can it do for us? Well, it can provide community support. By offering a support venue for the development of Edinburg School District programs like exhibits, music and dance performances, and Region One conferences," she said.

Under the terms of the agreement, the City of Edinburg will be able to use the medical conference center for municipal events.

© Copyright of the Rio Grande Guardian,, Melinda Barrera, Publisher. All rights reserved.

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