Soldiers shadow USACE engineers at LOUVAMC site

USACE - Louisville District
Published June 21, 2022
Updated: June 21, 2022

Three non-commissioned officers assigned to 1st Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky recently had the opportunity to shadow Quality Assurance Representatives from the Louisville Veterans Medical Center construction project June 6-10.  

As observer/controllers with their unit, the soldiers evaluate military construction units as they perform their work.  Through this shadowing exercise, they were able to see several of the processes used by USACE while performing quality assurance at an active construction site.  

Scott Hearne, construction quality manager for the Louisville VA Medical Center construction project, said the soldiers were able to experience much of what quality assurance reps on the project do on a daily basis.

“Upon arrival, the Soldiers participated in the contractor’s safety orientation. They were then given an overview of the project and integrated into our team,” he said. “They sat in on several project meetings, were exposed to our quality assurance procedures and experienced multiple features of work, including drilled pier installation, underground utility installation, and excavation.”

“This was a great opportunity to showcase our project and processes for uniformed soldiers that may someday utilize the services provided by the facility. It was truly an honor to have them onsite,” Hearne added. 

Hearne said the soldiers expressed a high level of satisfaction with the experience, noting that they would like to return later in the project to see how it has progressed. 

“Based on their experience discussed during a final out briefing, they plan to recommend to their senior leadership that other soldiers from their unit participate in a similar exercise. We look forward to supporting that effort,” he said.

Staff Sgt. Shane Gorman, a horizontal construction supervisor, with the 1st Battalion, 409th Brigade Engineer Battalion, said he could definitely see the value of being able to see how USACE manages construction projects.

“It was a great experience seeing a project of that scale,” he shared. “Up to this point in my 15-year Army career, I have only worked on a couple of gravel roads and a gravel parking lot. I learned how USACE holds contractors to upholding their end of the contract and making sure they follow the specs outlined by the design engineer.”

The $840 million project designed by URS-SmithGroup is being constructed by Walsh-Turner Joint Venture II, Chicago, Illinois.

The project includes the construction of a new 910,115 square foot medical center, parking structures, a 42,205 square foot central utility plant, roadways, sidewalks, and other site improvements.

The new 104 bed, full-service hospital located on Brownsboro Road in Louisville, Kentucky, will provide world-class healthcare for more than 45,000 Veterans in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

The new hospital will integrate modern patient-centered care concepts to provide the best possible care for Veterans. In addition, to specifically address the needs of women Veterans, the new hospital will include a Women’s Health Clinic with four Patient Aligned Care Teams.

Construction is anticipated to be complete in 2026.

To learn more about the project visit: www.va.gov/louisville-health-care/programs/new-robley-rex-va-medical-center.