FORT BELVOIR, VA -- The task: build a state-of-the-art, world-class medical facility in five years.
The result: the $1 billion Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, a model of modern military medical facilities that now stands where a golf course once existed on post.
For their efforts, the Norfolk District team that oversaw the construction of the hospital was honored April 29 as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Project Delivery Team of the Year for 2013.
“To be honored with this award from USACE, amongst all the competitors from BRAC 2005, I think it is truly a great accomplishment for the team,” said Col. Andy Backus, former Norfolk District commander.
The district team, made up of more than 100 district employees, worked closely with Joint Task Force Capital Medicine, the Health Facility Planning Agency, hospital staff and contractors to meet construction goals for the new hospital.
“We are recognizing a group that came together over the course of years to take an idea drawn on a napkin and bring it to brick and mortar in a hospital that is functional and beautiful,” said Col. Paul Olsen, Norfolk District commander.
The facility, which accepted its first patient in August 2011, tripled the inpatient care ability of the now-closed DeWitt Army Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir. The hospital was designed to speed patient recovery using evidence-based design, which links how the physical environment can influence well-being.
According to the award presented to the team, “The PDT never wavered in their commitment to meet the schedule and requirements for the accreditation process of the joint mission. Completing this project through an innovative accelerated project acquisition process known as ‘integrated design bid build’ allowed design and construction to be completed in approximately five-and-a-half years and essentially realigned healthcare delivery in the national capital region.”
Lloyd Caldwell, who served as the North Atlantic Division’s director of programs and is now the USACE director of military programs, said the PDT had major hurdles to overcome during the construction process.
“There was nothing easy about this project,” Caldwell said. “There was the fact that we were building this under the Base Realignment and Closure requirements, which meant a compressed timeline, and there had never been a major hospital built in the timeframe we were given. We used an innovative acquisition strategy … we used evidenced-based design and it is a world class facility as dictated by Congress.”
According to hospital staff, the 1.27-million-square-foot facility has changed the way they do business.
“We have reduced our referrals to the civilian network, we are seeing many more patients to the hospital then we were back in 2012, we have reduced our purchase care costs to the outside and we are bringing investment back to the military health system,” said Dr. Rick Repetta, the director for integration at Fort Belvoir during BRAC 2005. “In our quality metrics, we are in the top three in terms of our inpatient satisfaction scores in the entire military health system.”
The project, and its sustainable features, is now the benchmark for other healthcare facilities constructed by the Department of Defense.
“This is the hallmark of medical treatment right here,” said Maj. Gen. Kendall Cox, USACE deputy commanding general for military and international operations. “This set the standard … as we build facilities around the globe – I know from a medical health facilities perspective as they talk to the Defense Health Agency – they use this as a blueprint.”
Cox believes that the Corps of Engineers will continue to exceed customer expectations.
“If we continue to do work like this, with PDT’s like this, we will deliver premier health facilities for our most precious resource,” Cox said.