Garden Green Hospital for the Army

For Turner Construction Co., the mission is clear — build a new facility to replace the U.S. Army’s aging Martin Army Community Hospital in Fort Benning, Ga., that has been open since 1958.

Today, construction on the eight-story, 745, 000-square-foot hospital is well underway, says Martin Miller, project executive for Turner Construction Co., an international company that has an office in Huntsville. The cost of the project is just over $380 million.

Earlier this fall, crews were hard at work installing large glass panels in the hospital’s central grand concourse. The glass windows will expose visitors and workers to abundant daylight and views of the nearby woods, Miller says.

“They [glass panels] are prefabricated and swung into place with a crane, ” Miller says. “We’ve done a tremendous [amount] of prefabrication of the plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems and the glass and glazing. All of that was prefabricated off site, brought in on trucks and installed.”

The new facility will have 70 inpatient beds, six operating rooms, an emergency room,
radiology department with MRIs and CAT scans, and several outpatient diagnostic clinics, which will include family medicine, optometry, orthopedics and dental surgery. One floor will house a behavioral health clinic, while another will be dedicated to women and child services, labor and delivery. Another floor will house medical and surgical recovery, Miller says.

- Sponsor -

The Army has required that the new hospital meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver standards for healthcare facilities. For any building to obtain LEED certification, it must have features that conserve energy and water, reduce waste, increase access to sunlight, use sustainable materials or improve indoor environmental quality. Miller says the new building has met enough of the prerequisites to apply for the highest level of LEED certification, which is gold.

The hospital’s large windows in the concourse and two courtyards, for example, bring in natural light and reduce the need for artificial lighting, Miller says. “There are also photo cells in the building that will turn lights off if there is enough light coming from the outside, and that saves energy, ” he says.

Project Particulars

PROJECT NAME Martin Army Community Hospital Replacement
VALUE More than $380 million
LOCATION Fort Benning, Ga.
GENERAL CONTRACTOR Turner Construction Co.
ARCHITECTS AECOM and RLF Inc. (Rogers, Lovelock and Fritz Inc.)
ENGINEER Sain Associates Inc.
MAJOR SUBCONTRACTORS FROM ALABAMA Hinman Consulting Engineers, Inc. – Brown Mechanical Contractors, Physical Security LLC

“The hospital will have several rooftop gardens, ” he says, including a meditation garden on the second floor complete with trees in planters, grasses and shrubs. The other “green” roofs will have grasses and ground cover to reduce glare and heat from the sun for those patients and staffers with rooms and workspaces that overlook those rooftops. The ground covers and grasses also will lessen the amount of storm water runoff, Miller says.

Management of storm water was another sustainable feature the construction and design teams wanted to achieve, so the projects’ architects enlisted civil engineers from Sain Associates Inc., in Birmingham to help, Miller says.

The engineers designed a storm water management detention building that stands behind the hospital. Storm water from the hospital rooftops and parking decks will be routed to the detention building, which is partially underground, says Darren Hamrick, Sain Associates’ manager of project development.

Bird’s eye view of the plan for the new hospital at Fort Benning. A storm water detention system, designed by Birmingham’s Sain Associates, can stand up to a 100-year flood, says Darren Hamrick.  “Even if we get a 100-year storm, we hold all of that water inside that building and trickle it out very slowly like a bathtub.”

The storm water detention building will allow rainwater to slowly seep into the ground before it reaches a nearby creek, Hamrick says. The slow release of the storm water will prevent runoff and erosion. “We have enough volume space inside this building so that even if we get a 100-year storm, we hold all of that water inside that building and trickle it out very slowly like a bathtub, ” he says.

In addition to the storm water detention building, Sain also designed an exit ramp off the nearby Interstate 185 to help improve traffic flow to the hospital and a multi-lane, half-mile-long connector road to the hospital. The hospital is on target for completion by May 14, 2014, Miller says.

“The entire design-build team is committed to the mission of providing our soldiers and their families with a world-class, state-of-the-art hospital, ” says Miller. “They deserve it, and we’re going to deliver it.”

Gail Allyn Short is a freelance writer for Business Alabama. She lives in Birmingham.

Text by Gail Allyn Short

The latest Alabama business news delivered to your inbox