Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield’s Winn Army Community Hospital opened its new Liberty wing Tuesday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Due to rain, the ceremony was held indoors near the front doorway of the new 65,000-square-foot facility.
Guest speakers for the event included 3rd Infantry Division deputy commanding general-rear Brig. Gen. Pete Jones, Winn ACH and Stewart-Hunter Medical Activity Command Commander Col. Kirk W. Eggleston, Lt. Col. Michael Brennan, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department’s Health Facilities Planning Agency.
Jones and Brennan talked about how the new wing will provide soldiers, family members and retirees medical services commensurate with their military service.
Eggleston explained that the new wing got its name from dozens of names suggested by Winn staff members. He said the word liberty is a word that can be interpreted in many ways, but for the new wing, it involves freedom from pain and limited mobility associated with musculoskeletal issues.
He said the first floor of the Liberty wing will house orthopedics, podiatry, physical therapy and occupational therapy. The second floor of the new wing will house behavioral-health services and social-work services.
Eggleston concluded by saying the wing’s name also includes the more common use of the word liberty, which involves patriotism. He said the men and women who will use the new wing earned the services they will receive there through their service, sacrifice and patriotism.
“The Liberty wing is the first phase of a two-phase plan to expand the installation’s hospital,” Winn public affairs officer Michelle Gordon said. “Phase 2 is ongoing and includes a new emergency department, an expanded pharmacy, more than 200 additional parking spaces and renovations to 13 clinics and departments. The emergency department is projected to open later this year. All Winn ACH construction projects are scheduled to be completed by (the end of) 2016.”
Gordon explained that Phase 1 construction was managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, with construction completed by McCarthy Building Company. Troy Funk, resident engineer for the Corps of Engineers, said the nearly-$25 million project took two years to complete.
“We ran into some underground utilities that delayed the project a couple months,” he said. “There were also three buildings that had to be demolished. We had to do a separate contract to build temporary buildings for the clinics that used those buildings.”
Funk said one of the challenges of building the new wing was a requirement that new construction — as well as 2,000 square feet of renovation work — had to be done so that the affected clinics could remain open and fully operational. To accomplish that, he said they installed a utilities corridor underneath the new wing. Crews had to mitigate the construction noise by working during off hours.
“We’re already over a year into the Phase 2 construction project,” Funk said. “That’s a four-year contract, but we’re about a third complete already.”
Winn ACH first was built in 1983. Gordon said current renovations and expansion are part of the original concept plan that allowed for the hospital to grow as the installation grew. The new Liberty wing is along the northwest side of the hospital, adjacent to the outpatient-clinic entrance.