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A Milestone Year

The Cullen Tower construction site on May 14, 2024. 

Construction progresses on the Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower – Baylor’s next-generation healthcare education building

One year after beginning construction on the Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower, Baylor College of Medicine is making significant strides towards completion of this ambitious project.  

What was once a surface parking lot adjacent to the Jamail Specialty Care Clinic is now undergoing a remarkable transformation into an 11-story healthcare education building that will house the schools of Medicine and Health Professions and will open in 2026. 

The design for the new building signals a new chapter in Baylor’s history while honoring the rich legacy and iconic design of the original Roy and Lillie Cullen Building and reflecting recent advances in healthcare education. 

“Every detail, from the vertical stone panels on the entrance façade that reference the limestone façade of the original Cullen Building to the expansive atrium and elevated courtyard, is carefully organized to support students and intended to spark curiosity and provoke discovery,” said Robert Pulito, president emeritus and principal at SLAM, the architecture firm responsible for The Cullen Tower’s design. 

The foundations for the tower and a connected parking garage have been poured and construction is underway on the building’s shell and core. Upon completion, The Cullen Tower and Commons will boast 138,000 square feet of educational space and 81,000 square feet dedicated to cutting-edge computational research to train the future physicians and healthcare workforce of Houston.  

The timing for the opening of the new campus could not be more critical. A report from the Association of American Medical Colleges projects that the United States will face a physician shortage of up to 86,000 physicians by 2036. 

“Approximately half of the physicians that practice in Harris County trained in some capacity at Baylor College of Medicine,” said Paul Klotman, M.D., Baylor’s president, CEO and executive dean. “As our region continues to grow, we are going to need more physicians to keep pace, and so this project is ultimately an investment in the future of Houston and Texas.” 

Philanthropic support has been critical to the incredible progress so far. To date, the College has raised more than $113 million for the project – over 75% towards the $150 million goal.  

The Cullen Tower and Commons are phase 1 of Baylor’s Health Sciences Park development. Once the two-phase project is complete, the Health Sciences Park will encompass over 800,000 square feet and integrate healthcare education, patient care and research in a collaborative environment at The Cullen Tower, the Jamail Specialty Care Clinic and a future tower dedicated to research. It is also strategically located near the Texas Medical Center’s Helix Park, a 37-acre development that will support a collaborative mix of healthcare, biomedical research and business.  

“It was a vision of the founders of the Texas Medical Center to be leaders in medical education and to build a robust health infrastructure that would become important for the city of Houston and the state of Texas,” Dr. Klotman said. “Baylor College of Medicine has not only embraced that vision but continues to drive it forward, shaping the future of healthcare.”