News Release

Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
Date:January 22, 2021
Contact:
Danielle Pestrikoff, 512-424-6951

Construction of New State Hospital Now More Than Halfway Complete in Houston

AUSTIN – Construction is over halfway complete on the new 264-bed state psychiatric hospital in Houston, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced today. The UTHealth Behavioral Sciences Center will provide inpatient psychiatric care for adults from Harris County and surrounding counties.

“This new state-of-the-art facility is going to make a huge impact by helping more people who are experiencing mental health crises and need hospital care,” said Mike Maples, HHSC deputy executive commissioner of the Health and Specialty Care System. “Governor Abbott and the Texas Legislature have made a life-saving investment in serving the most vulnerable Texans.”

HHSC has partnered with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) for the design, development and construction of the facility. The medical school will also contract with HHSC to operate the hospital.

"The new hospital is a much-needed addition to Houston and southeastern Texas. It will have a major impact on our ability to provide outstanding care for our patients with major mental illnesses," said Dr. Jair Soares, the executive director of the new hospital and the chair of the Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “We are very grateful for the support that our plan received from our state leaders and representatives and very excited about this new partnership with HHSC.”

Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas lawmakers approved $126.5 million in funding for the planning and construction of the new hospital.

Construction crews are building the 253,000-square-foot UTHealth Behavioral Sciences Center (UTHealth BSC) next to the UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center (UTHealth HCPC) in the Texas Medical Center. Combined, the new hospital and UTHealth HCPC will have 538 beds, making the campus the largest academic psychiatric hospital in the country.

Construction is underway on two new four-story buildings that are connected by an enclosed, air-conditioned walkway. Eleven 24-bed units will have a mix of single and double occupancy patient rooms, as well as therapy rooms, classrooms, and activity rooms for art, music, and recreation. The hospital also includes two courtyards providing natural light throughout the building to promote recovery. The hospital was designed to be a therapeutic environment that helps patients successfully transition back to their home communities.

"The UTHealth Behavioral Sciences Center is the result of the Texas Legislature’s commitment to modernizing our state hospital system,” said State Sen. Jane Nelson. “This hospital, and the partnership between the Health and Human Services Commission and UTHealth Houston, will go a long way to achieving our state’s goal of increasing access to quality mental health care for all Texans."

Officials and construction crews broke ground on the new hospital in June 2019. Construction is scheduled to be completed in November 2021 with the first patients to be admitted in February 2022. Once open, UTHealth Behavioral Sciences Center will create more than 400 new jobs and become the first new public psychiatric hospital built in the Houston area in almost 35 years.

Visuals

Downloadable content is available including produced video of the project, b-rollpictures of the ongoing construction, and video sound bites from HHSC Deputy Executive Commissioner Mike Maples, UTHealth Chief Operating Officer Steve Glazier, and Dr. Jair Soares, executive director of the new hospital.

State Hospital System Transformation

Gov. Abbott and the Texas Legislature have approved $745 million for the construction and transformation of state hospitals in Austin, Kerrville, Rusk, San Antonio and Houston. The construction projects will add at least 350 new inpatient psychiatric beds at the state hospitals within the next four years. The added capacity will help reduce waiting lists for inpatient psychiatric treatment. For more information about state hospital construction projects throughout the state, visit the Changes to the State Hospital System page on the HHSC website.