Best Health Care

Photos Courtesy of Jim Teatro

Mandated under the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005, Walter Reed Army Medical Center moved from Washington, D.C., to the campus of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The $833-million relocation project required more than 725,000 sq ft of new construction, including an ambulatory care clinical area, a hospital inpatient addition and a 939-space parking garage.

The project also included more than 450,000 sq ft of renovation in 47 departments scattered throughout the campus and adjacent to ongoing hospital activities.

Hospital staffers “were treating patients as we were doing renovations inside the hospital,” says Tim Stroud, a project executive with Clark/Balfour Beatty, a joint venture in charge of the renovation portion of the job. “They never skipped a beat and never discontinued any services.”

JV partners Clark Construction Group of Bethesda, Md., and Balfour Beatty Construction of Fairfax, Va., received the design-build contract in March 2008 and began construction of the new campus in July of that year. The team completed the construction within 24 months, enabling renovations to move forward as patients were relocated from existing buildings to the new facilities. Clark/Balfour Beatty finished the remaining 300,000 sq ft of renovations within seven months, completing the project in July 2011.

Clark/Balfour Beatty timed and sequenced construction areas using a plan with temporary swing spaces. The company says many factors were given significant consideration. These include the safety of occupants and the work force, existing conditions, construction/occupant separation, life safety systems, patient/staff workflow, noise and vibration, construction containment, station utilities and construction access.

As with many renovations, the team made unexpected discoveries at Walter Reed, finding, for example, more hazardous materials than expected. Clark/Balfour Beatty also adjusted the scope of the project to upgrade some systems in the existing, antiquated facilities.

“The only way a project like this can be managed is on a design-build delivery, because we had to make immediate decisions every time there was a change to the plan,” Stroud says.

New construction at Walter Reed earned LEED-Gold certification. An intricate stormwater management system will reduce runoff by 25%.

The building design reduces errors by featuring same-handed procedure rooms where possible, such as emergency exam rooms and angiographic procedure rooms. It also includes charting alcoves between each pair of intensive care rooms so nurses can watch patients.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

Key Players

Owner/Developer: Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, D.C.

General Contractor: Clark/Balfour Beatty, a joint venture, Bethesda, Md.

Lead Design: HKS, Richmond, Va. and Dallas

Civil Engineer: Dewberry, Gaithersburg, Md.

Structural Engineer: Cagley & Associates, Rockville, Md.

MEP Engineer: M.C. Dean Inc. (electrical), Dulles, Va.

Submitted by: Clark/Balfour Beatty, a joint venture, Bethesda, Md.

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