Houston Methodist soon will open the Paula and Joseph C. “Rusty” Walter III Tower, a 22-story, $700 million patient tower housing new beds and state-of-the-art technology to better serve the community and the institution’s growing patient population.


The nationally-ranked Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and Houston Methodist Neurological Institute will move into the new building.  Cardiovascular surgeons, cardiologists, neurosurgeons and neurologists from these centers believe that the advanced technology in this building will transform clinical care for the future and will serve as the new standard for similar facilities around the country.


The 954,705 square-foot facility in the Texas Medical Center features 366 patient beds and 18 high-tech operating rooms, including four hybrid ORs that combine advanced medical imaging devices and an operating room. The new hybrid ORs will allow for more minimally-invasive procedures for cardiovascular surgery and neurosurgery.


Within the Walter tower is a three-story atrium named for Barbara and President George H.W. Bush. The atrium features the 1963 “Extending Arms of Christ” mosaic mural designed by Bruce Hayes and constructed in Florence, Italy, which was recently restored and relocated from the Fannin Street entrance of Houston Methodist Hospital. This 1.5 million-tile mosaic, dedicated in memory of Florence Eberhardt by her daughter and son-in-law Lois E. and Carl A. Davis, gives the space a sense of newness while carrying over the history of the hospital.


The atrium is designed to be a multisensory experience with large skylights providing natural light. The Barbara and President George H.W. Bush Atrium is the hub connecting the new Walter Tower to the rest of the campus.


“Barbara and I were very honored that Houston Methodist wanted to name its beautiful, new atrium after us as we have long admired this institution for its values, its commitment to excellence, and its faith-based mission,” President Bush said. “After spending so much time here in recent years, Barbara and I were worried we might wear out our welcome. Instead, this wonderful place of healing which has done so much to care for us continues to give.”


Other highlights of the Walter Tower include an intraoperative MRI that will give surgeons the ability to scan patients and perform procedures in the same location without moving them to an imaging suite during procedures. Surgeons will have a more precise view of tumors, aneurysms, ischemic strokes, etc. and can make adjustments to their surgical plan if necessary. Also in the tower is the latest generation of the Gamma Knife that delivers high doses of radiation to the brain with pinpoint accuracy without harming healthy tissue.


The building also features 14 heart catheterization labs with expanded space and MRI and CT conveniently located next to post-op rooms, three intensive care floors with all-private rooms, six acute care floors, a VIP suite, and a helipad that will give emergency personnel direct access to the OR, cath lab and intensive care units.


“The latest technology in Walter Tower will greatly benefit our patients and help us attract and retain the best physicians and researchers in the world,” said Marc L. Boom, M.D., president and CEO of Houston Methodist. “It will serve as the centerpiece for Houston Methodist in the Texas Medical Center for decades to come and will help us continue leading medicine.”


Walter Tower is named in honor of Rusty and Paula Walter, who generously donated $101 million to Houston Methodist to provide support for translational research, neurological restoration, innovation in medicine, an employee relief fund for Harvey victims, and a matching fund for 50 additional endowed chairs for physicians and scientists.


“Paula and I have tremendous respect for Houston Methodist,” Rusty Walter said.  “Years ago, my father got a new heart there that added 10 more years to his life.  When I had a stroke, they saved my life.  We feel blessed to be able to give back and help these doctors and scientists move forward with treatment and research that will save and extend even more lives.”


The facility is scheduled to open in August. For more information on Walter Tower, visit www.houstonmethodist.org/newsroom/walter-tower-media-kit. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook