Along with the development of The Woodlands in 1974, part of George Mitchell's vision for the community he founded included recognizing the need for a hospital to serve the growing population.

While The Woodlands is now home to multiple regional hospital groups—Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann, St. Luke's, Texas Children's and MD Anderson—as well as many other primary, urgent, specialty and emergency care facilities, the first hospital opening took place in 1985, just over a decade after the community opened.

The original community hospital became Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, which in 2024 is completing several projects to expand its parking garage by 1,000 spaces and add a sixth medical office building, said Justin Kendrick, senior vice president and CEO of Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center.

"It was master-planned to be a 96-bed hospital," Kendrick said. "Now, we sit at 457 with another 100 beds of shell capacity."

The backstory

Founding members of the community, such as Roger Galatas, who was chair of the hospital board in its early years, were instrumental in raising awareness of the hospital, Kendrick said. This included moving the hub for The Woodlands Express park and ride service to the hospital parking lot at one point to make the public more aware of its location, Kendrick said.

The hospital held its grand opening on Jan. 19, 1985, and it became part of the Memorial Health System in 1991, he said.

The original hospital was located where the current administrative offices are, with the offices marking the labor and delivery area, Kendrick said. As the community grew, needs for other services grew as well, with Memorial Hermann receiving a Level 2 trauma designation in 2014, he said.

The hospital has also continued to grow physically, with work on its South Tower being completed in 2022 and an additional medical office tower slated to open in January 2025.

Meanwhile, other hospitals have joined the community in the intervening years:Additional health care facilities in The Woodlands include recent openings, such as Memorial Hermann Medical Group The Woodlands Primary Care & Endocrinology in 2023 and Creekside Park Medical Plaza, which had completed construction as of early 2024.

Over time, health care in The Woodlands has become the top employment sector, representing 30.9% of nonretail major employers as of 2023.

What they're saying

"The intent ... was always to have a well-rounded, sustainable community, ... but in order to do [that], you've got to be healthy as well," said Jim Carman, president of the Howard Hughes Houston region. "Babies are being born; people get sick. And certainly the intent was to meet as much as we could of those those demands within the community."

"This wasn't able to be done by just one individual who had a dream to build a hospital," Kendrick said. "It really did take an entire community coming together in order to make it what it is today."