While Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital makes headway on a $231 million expansion, hospital officials said they hope their neonatal investment will help the hospital's future bid for a higher statewide designation.

In a nutshell

The expansion, which kicked off last April, will almost double the hospital’s number of beds and provide more services for the growing region, said Matt Kelly, vice president of operations for Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital.

“The whole vision of this project is to elevate Sugar Land to become a more comprehensive and complex care community hospital,” he said. “We want to be able to keep our patients in this community, in their community and not have them travel downtown for those higher level services.”

The details

Upon completion in late 2026, the hospital will include:
  • Roughly 120 more beds, bringing the hospital’s bed capacity to about 300
  • A third medical plaza with five stories
  • A six-story parking garage with more than 1,000 additional spots
  • A seven-story north tower with new medical, surgical and universal beds
  • An expanded neonatal intensive care unit, general ICU and emergency room
  • Enhanced operating rooms
  • Renovated existing spaces
Medical Plaza 3 and the parking garage are set to finish by early July and December, respectively, Kelly said. A third catheter lab will also open in December.

Until the parking garage opens, hospital visitors can use complimentary valet at the hospital's entrances to "minimize that headache" for patients, Kelly said.

"Their experience starts when they step foot on campus, and we want that to be the best experience possible," he said.

Zooming in

Meanwhile, construction will also begin in early 2025 on the north tower, which will include the expanded NICU. This will aid the hospital's application to the Texas Department of State Health Services for a higher NICU designation, Kelly said.

The DSHS issues four NICU designations, with Level I being the most basic and Level IV being the most advanced, according to the DSHS.

The hospital has a Level II NICU designation, meaning it has a specialty care nursery that can care for mothers and infants at 32-plus weeks of gestation. A Level III unit can care for mothers and infants of all gestational ages with mild to critical illnesses, according to DSHS.

“We have a desire to move up in our leveling to treat higher-acuity babies,” Kelly said. “Us going up to a Level III, part of that requires us to have more space and more ability to do different things, and this [expansion] project will allow us to do that.”

Hospital officials hope to enter into active pursuit of the designation, meaning it’ll operate like it’s in that level, in late 2025, said George Kovacik, director of external communications at Memorial Hermann.

Looking ahead

The expansion also includes shell spaces to allow the hospital to continue growing its services to meet the community’s future needs, Kelly said.

Between 2017-22, Fort Bend County’s population grew 17% from 711,421 to 832,607, according to five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Moreover, a report from Woods and Poole Economics, an economic and demographic firm, predicted the county will reach 1.1 million residents by 2030, according to data on the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council's website.

Additionally, demographic data of the hospital’s service area shows the number of residents age 65 and older will grow almost 30% in the next five years, Kelly said. On the other hand, data shows the area is also attracting young families.

“We are building for now, but we’re looking 10 years out to say where can we shift, [what] do we need to meet the community [needs], where do we [have needs] to meet that demand,” Kelly said.