New College of Medicine debuts on University of Houston campus


The University of Houston opened its Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine, one of the first new medical schools in Houston in nearly 50 years.

Over a period of 16 months, a construction team led by architect and chief engineer PageSoutherlandPage, designer The S/L/A/M Collective and general contractor Vaughn Construction collaborated on this $90 million project , which now serves nearly 500 medical students. The three-story, 128,400-square-foot college sits on 43 acres of the university’s campus and is the first building designed for the university’s new medical district.

It is also the first LEED Gold building on the university’s campus. Energy performance is optimized with features that reduce indoor water consumption, responsiveness to energy demand, passive daylighting, and more. Others include the selection of sound materials, including the use of oak planks salvaged from the site itself. The project includes its own 6,300 square foot power plant.

Multi-stage learning

The new College of Medicine includes a simulation center on the second floor.

Among the features of the College of Medicine are a Sky Box lecture hall on the second floor with a capacity of 128 and four seminar rooms that can accommodate an additional 50 people for presentations. Also on the second floor is a Simulation Center, consisting of clinical skills examination rooms and simulated hospital wards. One of three Sim Flex Labs provides acute simulations such as trauma, surgery, and critical care scenarios.

On the first floor, an active learning classroom and wellness studio open the building to the public, where students can host community events and gain valuable hands-on interaction.

The College is named after the family of Tilman J. Fertitta, the businessman who owns the Houston Rockets NBA team, casinos that include The Golden Nugget, and is chairman of the University of Houston Board of Regents .

In a letter to faculty and staff, the College’s founding dean, Stephen Spann, who is the university’s vice president of medical affairs, said the university is taking “a bold and fresh new approach to medical education” focusing on a key contributor to poor health: shortage of general practitioners. The College’s mission is to train physicians to prevent and improve ill health, not just treat it, and to help eliminate health care disparities in urban and rural areas.

The university estimates that in the medical school’s first decade of operation, it will bring in $4.13 for every dollar spent and add $376.6 million in total revenue to greater Houston.


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