Harris Health System is set to break ground on a $1B new hospital in northeast Houston

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Harris Health System is preparing to break ground on a $1B new hospital that will replace Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in northeast Houston. Harris Health System will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on May 9th to formally commence construction on the project, which has an anticipated four-year construction timeline until completion.

Upon its projected completion in 2028, the massive new Harris Health hospital facility on Kelley Street will be an impressive 12-story, 1.3 million square foot structure capable of housing 450 patient beds. Of these beds, 390 will be permanent while the remaining 60 are designed as flexible temporary or shelled spaces to accommodate fluctuations in demand. In a major upgrade, every single patient room will be private, providing a more peaceful and comfortable healing environment. The hospital’s surgical capabilities will also be significantly enhanced, with 15 operating rooms dedicated for procedures plus an additional hybrid operating room outfitted with advanced imaging equipment for complex cases requiring more specialized treatment. Overall, this billion-dollar investment promises to usher in a new era of modern, patient-focused healthcare for the Houston community served by Harris Health.

While the hospital’s initial filings with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation estimated construction costs around $990.8 million, it’s important to note that companies frequently revise such early figures as projects progress. Harris Health System itself has provided a higher projected total cost of approximately $1.6 billion for this massive hospital development, likely accounting for additional expenses beyond just core construction
New hospital to be Houston’s first level 1 trauma center outside Texas medical center

A Harris Health System spokesman said the new hospital would be Houston’s first Level 1 trauma center outside of the Texas Medical Center.

To keep the new hospital operational in the event of an emergency, workers will outfit the new building with six generators, including three diesel units and three natural gas units to provide back-up power.

The hospital will also include a number of new systems aimed at allowing the facility to operate as efficiently as possible.

Two of the generators, for example, will repurpose heat they produce to provide heat in the winter and humidity control in the summer.

Also, workers will equip two of the hospital’s five centrifugal chillers in its HVAC system with the latest heat-recovery systems capable of repurposing heat to provide climate control in the hospital.

Read also: Houston Methodist Hospital expansion project reaches completion

Construction team for the new Harris Health System’s hospital in Houston

Houston-based HKS Architects is overseeing the new hospital’s design, while St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. is serving as the construction manager at risk for the project.

Construction workers are building the new hospital on the same site as the existing Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, but they will not demolish the existing building.

Harris Health System plans to convert the existing hospital, built in 1989, into a mental health facility after the new hospital opens, according to a Harris Health System spokesman.

The new hospital will not retain the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital Hospital name. The Harris Health spokesman said naming rights will become available at a later date.

Funding for the new hospital

The ambitious plans by Harris Health System to not only build this massive new $1B hospital, but also overhaul and repurpose the existing Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital facility, are made possible by a $2.5B bond measure that received approval from Harris County voters in 2022. Harris Health System will allocate approximately $433 million from the bond money to renovate the current LBJ Hospital and transform it into an updated mental health treatment center after the new hospital opens.

In addition to funding the new $1B hospital and LBJ Hospital renovations, the $2.5B bond will allocate $410 million towards refurbishing and upgrading the Ben Taub Hospital. The bond will allocate $504.5 million to construct a network of new community health clinics across Harris County, enhancing local residents’ access to care.

“We need to shift the focus of our clinics so that they’re not just places for people to get their antibiotics or other medications, but so that they’re health hubs,” Porsa said in October. “Harris Health would be a convener of social services, a place where other community-based organizations can have a presence or where we can connect our community to those services.”

Read also: Construction of the New North Texas State Hospital set to begin