In collaboration with Texas Health and Human Services Commission, leaders at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health)’s Harris County Psychiatric Center recently celebrated the grand opening of the new John S. Dunn Behavioral Sciences Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The two entities teamed to build a facility that would shatter old stigmas with an interactive patient-focused approach. The 275,000 SF building, the first new academic psychiatric hospital to be built in the state in 25 years, does not disappoint.
Visitors are greeted with an intricately designed Swiss pearl façade, consisting of 1,750 undulating panels of various sizes and orientations that frame an abundance of windows, flooding the space with natural light. The new facility expands the existing adjacent facility’s patient care space by 268 beds and brings the combined campus capacity to 538 beds, making it the largest psychiatric hospital in the country.
The entire building features warm, welcoming environments configured to provide patient comfort and enjoyment, while ensuring occupant safety. Each of the 11 patient units on levels 2-4 include single and double occupancy rooms with in-unit nursing, day rooms to encourage patient interaction, group and individual therapy spaces, and visitation spaces. A therapy mall on level 1 overlooks a bright courtyard and features music and group therapy spaces, an exercise room, a hair salon, and a boutique for retail needs. A spacious activities center with floor to ceiling windows provides natural light and an inviting atmosphere for interaction.
Another unique aspect of the facility is its design for use by the public. Level 1 features a 3,750 SF education center for doctors and nurses in mental health medical residency. Also, Level 4 includes a mood disorder clinic for outpatient treatment complete with an electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) suite.
We are proud to have been involved in building this unique patient environment that overcomes social stigma while improving behavioral health care in Houston, Harris County, and the surrounding communities.