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Posted 12/18/2014

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By Katie Newton, public affairs


With fewer than 100 days in the project schedule, time is ticking to complete the major $90 million renovation of the Medical Center Complex at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

The hospital on base, which serves Soldiers and their family members, is currently 94 percent complete and is scheduled to be fully operational by mid-March 2015.

“The magnitude of the renovation and the number of moving parts is really incredible,” said Steve Farkus, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Louisville District, which oversees the project. “It has taken a lot of coordination and great partnerships to ensure smooth transitions.”

The project involves renovating the 1950s-era hospital to a state-of-the-art health facility with an overhauled Intensive Care Unit (ICU), new dining facilities, updated patient rooms, surgery areas, office areas and a dental clinic. Renovations to more than 260,000 square feet of the facility are helping to modernize 30 different departments throughout the hospital.

The construction contractor, Walsh/Butt Joint Venture, is focused on the schedule and getting this project turned over to the 88th Medical Group this spring.

Only five of the 30 departments still remain under construction, with one of the biggest areas—the kitchen and dining facilities—winding down by the end of December.

“Our short-term focus is on the dining facility and getting that complete and being able to turn that over by Christmas,” said Matt White, Walsh/Butt Joint Venture. “We’re still on target so that hopefully by the first week of January they will be live in the kitchen using the facility.”

The new kitchen and dining area will be turned over to the hospital staff, complete with new serving stations, state-of-the-art pizza oven, a high efficiency dish washer capable of handling over 14,000 dishes per hour, advanced fire suppression systems at the kitchen exhaust hoods, a spray master sanitation system that consists of central and remote stations, a dining room and conference room seating for approximately 160 and 92 respectively. The total renovated kitchen area is about 20,000 square feet.

The unexpected finding of asbestos during the renovation and expansion of the kitchen and dining facilities was one of the biggest hurdles of the project.

 “There were numerous issues which included everything from additional asbestos abatement to mechanical and kitchen equipment utility changes that impacted the time to complete this area,” said Jeremy Cobb, USACE resident engineer. “Everybody came together to solve the issues and turn over a newly-renovated dining facility that all visitors and staff can enjoy.”

Another critical point of the project included a three-month complete shut-down of the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The renovation involved lots of planning and coordination between the project team and the hospital to minimize impact on the user.

“The work of everyone involved is increasing patient care at the Wright-Patt Medical Center and that is something everyone can be proud of,” said Farkus.

 The groups involved include the 88th Medical Group, 88th Civil Engineer Directorate, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District, the construction contractor Walsh/Butt Joint Venture and the design contractor HKS/WS.

 One thing all parties involved in the project have kept at the forefront is safety. The Walsh/Butt Joint Venture (JV) logged more than 505,000 man hours worked over the course of 1,134 days with zero lost-time accidents, injuries or impacts to the project. The JV celebrated with the tradesmen Dec. 3, by recognizing them for their successes and reinforcing the importance of safety while they finish the mission at the hospital.

 In early December during a senior advisory group meeting, which brings all parties together for a project update, everyone seemed thrilled that the project was nearing the finish line. “Thanks to everyone for their efforts in trying to get this project wrapped up,” said Farkus.

 Margarita Tuss, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base 88th Civil Engineer Directorate, shared her enthusiasm as well. “I just want to express my gratitude. It’s been a long journey. We’ve been at this for over three years and I express my gratitude for everyone’s efforts to see it to completion.”

A ribbon-cutting is being planned for spring 2015 to unveil the new facilities.