Military and community leaders gathered Thursday morning outside Winn Army Community Hospital for a groundbreaking ceremony, kicking off construction of the hospital’s Phase II expansion.
According to Winn Public Affairs Officer Michelle Gordon, simultaneous construction projects will include a new, two-story, 44,000-
square-foot emergency room and an additional 55,000 square feet in renovations to the hospital’s pharmacy, dining facility and 11 other clinics and departments.
Moreover, she said, the Phase II construction project will include 234 additional parking spaces on the northeast side of the hospital. Winn Army Community Hospital serves the medical needs of more than 25,000 active-duty and retired soldiers and their families.
“This hospital was built in the spring of 1983, and it was a state-of-the-art facility at that time,” said Col. Ron Place, commander at Winn and Medical and Dental Activity Command for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield. “But it’s 30 years old. It doesn’t meet the needs of a deployable Army with families ... We have to be prepared to move forward as the demands of our Army and beneficiaries change.”
Place pointed out several new features recently constructed at the hospital, including the new magnetic resonance imaging building, a treatment center for traumatic brain injuries and the Phase I construction project that he said will be completed later this year. That 65,000 square-foot project will include muscular-skeletal, orthopedic, podiatry and both physical and occupational therapy on the first floor and behavior-health and social-work services on the second floor.
While noting the architectural design of the new additions will be the same, he admitted construction will be inconvenient for staff and patients with both the dining facility and pharmacy having to be moved to temporary locations.
Place said the estimated cost for the construction project is $34 million, with an additional $15 million allocated for new equipment that will be used in the new facilities. The dining facility will be completely renovated with all-new equipment and nearly double the seating capacity, he said.
The pharmacy will be moved from inside the hospital to the west wing, where it also will be enlarged. He said they will go from four pharmacy windows to seven. The family practice clinic was also increase in size, he said.
Place said construction of the new emergency room is expected to be completed by the fall of 2014, with the rest of the Phase II construction completed in 2016.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is supervising the construction of Phase II. According to Rashida Banks, public affairs specialist, the construction contract was awarded to McCarthy Building Company of St. Louis, the same company awarded the Phase I contract.
The Corps of Engineers’ resident engineer Troy Funk defined his role as mostly administrative, saying he made sure the contractor met the contract specifications. He said construction of the emergency room would be relatively easy compared to other work inside the hospital.
“What’s going to be difficult is the renovation portion of this project,” Funk said. “One of the first things we’ll have to do is build an elevator to the third floor, which will require us to knock out walls with a jackhammer. There’ll be a lot of dust and noise.”
He explained that before construction of any kind began inside the hospital, the contractor would have to seal off the area, ensuring none of the dust or debris “infiltrated” the rest of the hospital. Funk, who is assigned to the Corps of Engineers Savannah District, also is resident engineer for the Phase I project. He said most of the work on Phase I has gone smoothly.
However, he noted there were some problems with underground utilities that were put in place since the hospital was built and were not on the 1983 drawings they were going by. He commended the contractor for its willingness to solve the problem and stay on schedule.
Taking part in the actual groundbreaking ceremony with Place and hospital personnel were Brig. Gen. John Hort, 3rd Infantry Division deputy commanding general-rear, and Kevin Kuntz, president of McCarthy Building Company.