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Posted 8/31/2015

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By Katie Newton, public affairs

In one of the most logistically-challenging renovations the district has seen, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District helped to complete the monumental task of renovating 260,000 square feet in over 41 departments throughout the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center Complex in Ohio—all with minimal impacts to patient care.

“Doing a renovation of a facility is one thing, but doing a renovation of a working hospital and to keep it running is unbelievable,” said Louisville District Commander, Col. Christopher Beck. “It’s an impressive project.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held July 31, 2015, to celebrate the completion of the $99 million dollar multi-phase renovation project that took just over three years to complete. The project involved renovating the 1950s-era hospital to a state-of-the-art health facility with an overhauled Intensive Care Unit, new dining facilities, updated patient rooms, surgery areas, administrative areas and a dental clinic.

The project provided eight operating rooms, including a new hybrid operating room, a laser eye suite that treats 15-20 service members daily, and a plastic surgery center now equipped with Wi-Fi, which helps staff to move patients through the department much easier.
“It’s great to hear from the doctors first-hand about how the renovations have impacted their day-to-day processes and how it’s improving medical care,” said Steve Farkus, Louisville District project manager.

Among all of the new changes, the staff favorite is the new 20,000-square-foot dining facility, which is an upgrade from the small closet-like space that existed previously. The kitchen and dining area are complete with new serving stations, state-of-the-art brick oven pizza maker, and a high-efficiency dish washer capable of handling over 14,000 dishes per hour giving the dining staff the space and tools they need to serve more than 400 patients and staff breakfast and 500 for lunch each day.

“Everything that has happened here is for the benefit of our patients,” said Marc Dowler, chief of Medical Enlisted Force for Air Force Materiel Command. “This is phenomenal. Our patients and staff are all very appreciative of everything we have here.”

The massive renovation called for strong partnering for a successful project. The groups who came together include the Defense Health Agency, 88th Medical Group, 88th Civil Engineer Directorate, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, the USACE Louisville District, the construction contractor Walsh/Butt Joint Venture and the design contractor HKS/WS.

“A project this complex was like assembling a Swiss watch—a large number of moving parts that had to be perfectly synchronized,” said Farkus. “The team took on the challenge and brought this across the finish line. I was honored to be a part of this one.”