The most prestigious school of public health in the state and fourth-largest in the country, UTHealth Houston School of Public Health will break ground on a 10-story, 350,000-square-foot tower in the Texas Medical Center that underscores the school’s mission of health promotion and disease prevention, sustainable access to affordable health care with improved outcomes, and training the next generation of leaders in public health sciences.
“This new, state-of-the-art facility will serve as a platform for our students, faculty and staff – allowing them to transform the lives and health of our communities through public health education and research,” said Giuseppe Colasurdo, MD, president and Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair at UTHealth Houston.
The design of the new building, with an estimated cost of $299 million, embraces sustainability with plans for rainwater harvesting for irrigation, abundant natural light, access to greenspace, an upper-level terrace, holistic teaching garden, and building automation programming.
Located in the Texas Medical Center’s Helix Park, it will house state-of-the-art research laboratories and distance-learning technology, an auditorium, teaching kitchen for its dietetic interns, collaborative spaces, and classrooms in support of the school’s broad range of disciplines including epidemiology, genetics, nutrition, health policy, data science, and health promotion.
“The new building reflects our bold thinking as we pioneer radical solutions for imminent and future public health challenges while giving our students the tools and resources to improve the health of Texas,” said Eric Boerwinkle, PhD, dean of UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, M. David Low Chair in Public Health, and Kozmetsky Family Chair in Human Genetics.
Founded in 1967, the school’s community engagements and faculty are spread across the state, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and Brownsville. It was ranked the No. 1 school of public health in Texas by U.S. News and World Report, and fifth in the country for schools of public health in funding from the National Institutes of Health. The school’s enrollment has grown 27% over the last five years, and within its new building, will be well positioned to continue to grow.
Specialized centers concentrate on a wide range of important health-related issues including underserved border communities, cutting-edge DNA sequence analysis on a population scale, promoting healthy behaviors in schools, and workplace safety on farms and factories. It was the recent recipient of the 2023 Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.
Architects for the project are Kirksey Architecture and SmithGroup, and the general contractor is Vaughn Construction. The new building is estimated to open in time for the fall semester of 2026.