UT Medical Branch Starts Work on $438M Jennie Sealy Hospital

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor Work on a new hospital will start in Galveston no later than this fall. The $438 million project, representing a major milestone in the University of Texas Medical Branch’s recovery from Hurricane Ike, which ravaged the Gulf [...]

Work on a new hospital will start in Galveston no later than this fall. The $438 million project, representing a major milestone in the University of Texas Medical Branch’s recovery from Hurricane Ike, which ravaged the Gulf Coast nearly three years ago, has recently received approval from the University of Texas System Board of Regents.

The new facility, Jennie Sealy Hospital, will rise on the site of the existing Jennie Sealy building and will complement the John Sealy Hospital, which is currently being modernized. The facility was being planned before Hurricane Ike, according to reports in the Houston Business Journal. The 13-floor facility will contain nearly 250 hospital rooms and feature ample space and an open layout to promote a patient- and family-centered approach to care, as well as a 54-bed intensive care unit. Surgical facilities include 20 state-of-the-art operating suites—with dedicated space for neurosurgery, organ transplantation and orthopedic surgery—that are substantially larger than the university’s existing operating rooms.

The facility, designed to withstand the worst storms Galveston could take, will have its productive areas located at least 25 feet above sea level and utilities located on upper floors. Elevated walkways will connect the hospital to both John Sealy Hospital and the university’s nationally recognized Level I Trauma Center.

The funding for the facility comes from a variety of sources: a $170 million donation from The Sealy & Smith Foundation (the largest single philanthropic commitment in the university’s 89-year history), topped by an additional $100 million in philanthropic contributions gathered through a planned fundraising effort. Another major contributor is debt service on a $150 million tuition revenue bond from the state of Texas—a commitment from the 81st and 82nd legislatures.  And a further $18 million will come from the university’s resources.

HDR Inc. will be the architect for the hospital, while the general contractor has yet to be selected. With site preparation starting this fall, the new Jennie Sealy Hospital will most likely have its public debut in early 2016.