New hospital enjoys Large Missile Level E protection, thanks to SentryGlas® equipped curtain wall

Image © YKK AP
11 different glazing types were used, with various combinations of low e coatings, interlayers, glass colours and surface treatments. Image © UTMB
YKK’s silicone glazed curtain wall, with two layers of 2.3 mm (90 mil) SentryGlas®, has ability to meet the requirements of Large Missile Level E. Image © YKK AP

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall over Galveston, Texas at 2:10 a.m. Damage and loss of life was catastrophic, with the long-lasting effects causing even more issues for the area. Among the island’s most important installations, many of the 70 plus buildings of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston bore the full brunt of the storm, several of which were damaged beyond repair.

But, like a phoenix from the flames, buildings were rebuilt, and a new hospital arose, which offers the best possible defense against Mother Nature, without reverting to a Fort-Knox-like appearance. A case-inpoint was the construction of the new Jennie Sealy Hospital, on the site of a smaller namesake hospital, which was being used for offices at the time. The twelve-story, state-of-the-art Jennie Sealy hospital has been designed with an additional level of hurricane resistant, thanks to a curtain wall incorporating SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer from Trosifol™.

Ike devastated the local area. As well as all utilities being knocked out of action, other buildings on the UTMB Galveston campus were damaged, including the nearby John Sealy Hospital, which saw its basement and ground floor inundated with water, destroying the pharmacy, blood bank and its sterile processing lab. As a result of the intense storm, not only did 400 patients have to be evacuated to inland hospitals, but UTMB also lost all ability to generate in-patient revenue.

Following the hurricane, some difficult decisions had to be made regarding the future of the UTMB Campus, one of which included actually keeping it in Galveston. Following discussions with all primary stakeholders, it was argued that not only would a move interrupt the flow of new doctors from the UTMB Medical School and hinder critical medical research, but staff commute times and the strong local community support would be adversely affected, too. The decision was compounded by the fact that UTMB also attracted significant local financial backing. As a result, the decision to remain in Galveston was made, with a goal that the UTMB Galveston campus would be constructed in such a way that it would not need to rely upon federal resources in the event of a similar weather event.

The new Jennie Sealy hospital comprises a four-story podium, with two eight-story towers rising from it. All productive areas of the hospital are now more than 7.6 m (25 ft) above sea level, with all surgical suites being located on the 4th floor. Utilities are positioned on upper floors, too. The new facility includes nearly 200 hospital rooms, 20 state-of-the-art operating suites and a 54-bed intensive-care unit.


  • Hurricane/Tornado/Typhoon Protective Glazing


  • USA + Canada


  • SentryGlas®
  • Trosifol® Clear


  • HDR


  • Viracon

Glazing Contractor

  • Admiral Glass

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