UTMB branch opens on site of shuttered Webster hospital

After abruptly shuttering its doors last May, leaving about 900 employees without work, the former Bay Area Regional Medical Center in Webster has been revived as the newest campus of the University of Texas Medical Branch.

The UTMB Clear Lake Campus will open March 30 as a full-service hospital, offering 87 of an eventual 191-bed patient unit to residents. Roughly 425 employees will be on staff, and administrators say the facility and its workforce will grow over time.

“We will continue to grow that employee (base) as we expand services,” said Katrina M. Lambrecht, vice president of health system operations and regional hospitals at UTMB.

Last October, UTMB officially signed a 15-year lease on the building and has estimated it would spend $210 million to build on current plans to establish educational and research opportunities within the community.

UTMB has made only minor changes to the four-year old structure and will be acclimating its services to the building’s operating systems and other design factors.

“We came in and took the approach that this was a fully-functioning hospital before and we just have to make sure that we can bring it back to fully-functioning status for UTMB operations,” Lambrecht said. “There has been a lot of getting to know the building.”

This is the latest branch in UTMB’s expanding presence outside Galveston County and into the Houston area. The healthcare provider has a growing campus in League City.

“When we looked at the market and at the Bay Area region as a whole, we believe there is a need for both of these facilities,” Lambrecht said. “It was a number of factors that come together at the right time, so we could have never have predicted Bay…

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