McCarthy Building Co. and Balfour Beatty Construction, both of Dallas, broke ground at the end of last year on the $534-million Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, the largest Dep. of Defense project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“It’s taking stimulus money and putting it to a good cause for the service members and their families,” says Michael J. McWay, president of the Texas Division of McCarthy Building Cos. of Dallas and chairman of the Balfour Beatty | McCarthy Management Committee.
The 947,000-sq-ft medical center will benefit more people—an anticipated 250,000 soldiers, their families and retirees—than most of the DOD’s other stimulus projects, according to the department. While civilian hospitals usually receive upgrades every 24 years or so, Army hospitals are on a 40-50 year cycle, says Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, U.S. Army surgeon general and commander, U.S. Army Medical Command.
Balfour Beatty-McCarthy received the design-build contract last fall to replace the existing, 45-year-old hospital. Design partners are HKS of Dallas and Wingler & Sharp of Wichita Falls, Texas. Southland Industries and M.C. Dean have provided MEP integrated design services. Both will also perform work associated with their trades. McWay expects to complete the project in May 2014.
Col. (Dr.) Steven Braverman, the medical center’s commander, adds that a new structure will allow the medical center to bring together a top-notch staff in a facility with the latest equipment. The new medical center will serve as a hub for care at the base, but the DOD also will open clinics in Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove to move health care closer to where families live and work.
As a nurse, I know how exciting it is to work in a new facility, one that incorporates all of the best designs we now know contribute to improved patient outcomes. The design-build team aims for LEED-Gold certification, which should reduce energy and water use by 30% each. In addition to those savings, a 100% dedicated outside air system will create an environment with good indoor air quality for staff and patients by eliminating air recirculation throughout patient care areas.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates the project will put an estimated 1,000 people to work during peak construction.
“In that region of Central Texas, people will come from Austin, Dallas and other cities [to work on the project],” McWay says. “One thing worth talking about is this is stimulus money going for the good of the economy.”