HOUSTON -

Big plans are on the way for the Texas Medical Center.

Two big medical institutions are teaming up for an even bigger collaboration.

On Tuesday, Catholic Health Initiative Saint Luke's Health and Baylor College of Medicine announced they will build a new state-of-the-art
acute care facility to better serve the Houston region.

One of the special guests on hand for Mondays news conference was Texas Heart Institute founder Dr. Denton Cooley.

"I'm very pleased and very optimistic about the future of all the institutions involved and especially the Texas heart institute," said Dr. Cooley.

The first phase of the project, which will include a 250-bed facility, is still in its finishing stages and is expected to be complete by the spring of 2015.

Another 400 beds will be eventually added by 2018 to eventually replace the existing St. Luke's Medical Center.

Doctors say the new relationship will give patients access to the most cost effective high quality care and also to the latest research on an accelerated timeline.