As the deadline grows ever closer (it's September 15, 2011), Patch will be checking in periodically on the massive undertaking that is BRAC at Fort Belvoir.
With approximately 20,000 employees coming to Belvoir and approximately 14,500 leaving, the overhaul in infrastructure presents the type of the logistical challenge the Department of Defense has rarely seen on these shores. At Fort Belvoir alone (or BRAC-132 or Belvoir South as it is sometimes referred) a total of nearly 6.3 million square feet of building space will be constructed, 7 million square feet of parking space will be created, at an overall construction cost of approximately $4 billion.
Most of those who are coming to Fort Belvoir will be coming from Capital Region sites that have been closed or will be merged into Fort Belvoir. Those departing are headed to locations across the country.
At any one time there are 142 projects in progress at Fort Belvoir. In the accompanying video, Patch looks at seven of those, the most noteworthy being the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, which has been described as state of the art. Here’s more:
The Warrior Transition Unit (WTU)
The Warrior Transition Unit is where soldiers will go after they leave Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH) when in need of long-term care. The property borders FBCH. Construction is on schedule to be complete by August 19 and will be ready for troops on September 5. There are two barracks with approximately 206 units in each. The four story buildings cover 248,100 in square footage. In terms of size, the individual units can be described as bigger than a hospital room but smaller than an apartment. The units will allow space for extended family visit and nursing services. The employees at the Warrior Transition Unit will be new hires.
The Office of the Chief, Army Reserve (OCAR)
The OCAR building will house approximately 400 employees being transferred from the existing location in Crystal City. The three-story, 88,000 square foot facility is being built at a cost of $19.6 million.
The OCAR building is expected to be complete by September 12.
Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
The façade of the front of the MDA building has been designed and built to match the other structures at the center of Fort Belvoir with columns in the front.
Most of the 292 employees that will occupy the $33 million building will be coming from the Federal Office Building 2 in Arlington.
The high security facility is just over 99,000 square feet and is on schedule to be ready in September.
United States Army Legal Services Agency (USALSA)
The USALSA Building will be home to 300 employees most of whom will relocate from the existing facility in Ballston. The location will be a pre-eminent military legal facility with courtrooms for court-martials. In addition to the courtrooms, there will be offices housing personnel that offer an array of legal services.
Construction of the 97,300 square foot USALSA building is expected to be completed in the first week of September.
Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH)
The crown jewel of BRAC at Fort Belvoir is the new hospital, which will replace Dewitt Army Community Hospital. After it is closed, DeWitt will be converted to offices. Patients will be transferred from both DeWitt and Walter Reed Hospitals in phases, as will the staff. FBCH has a price tag of $807 million.
At over 1.25 million square feet, FBCH will be a significant upgrade to DeWitt, nearly tripling the number of beds from 45 to 120. The number of operating rooms will go from three to ten. There is also a marked increase in the use of technology, which is designed to improve the experience of the patient and his/her family.
One example of this is doctor’s charts. Just as doctors are able to call up a patient’s history, patients will be able to look at their doctor’s professional history, including his or her areas of expertise.
Also, patient rooms were designed so that they receive the maximum amount of available sunlight, since research has shown that Vitamin D aids the recovery process. Each room is equipped to be both nurse and family-friendly.
Audio and video systems in the room are patient-controlled as are the environmental conditions.
Speaking of the environment, FCBH was designed to limit its “footprint.” The partially-vegetated roof is built at a swoop, which will allow rainwater to be collected and recycled. FCBH has achieved LEED Silver certification.
In addition to the hospital, a separate building will house a new dental clinic and to accommodate the larger amount of patients and staff, parking garages with approximately 3,000 spots are being built.
FCBH is on budget and on schedule.
* - NOTE: The first version of this story indicated that the bulk of employees coming to the Missile Defense Agency are coming from Fort Meade in Odenton, Maryland. That was incorrect and therefore has been changed.