Construction continues on largest ambulatory care center in the DOD

  • Published
  • By Jennifer Schneider
  • Air Force Civil Engineering Center Public Affairs
San Antonio will soon be home to the largest outpatient ambulatory care center in the Department of Defense: the new Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

"The new Wilford Hall represents the highest level of enhanced outpatient health care available anywhere," said Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Bart Iddens, a 59th Medical Wing commander. "It's a testament to the dedication our men and women of the 59th Medical Wing have for our service members and the more than 240,000 beneficiaries we care for in and around the San Antonio area."

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is managing construction of the $380 million, state-of-the-art treatment center, which spans almost 700,000 square-feet. The facility will serve more than 55,000 patients annually and replaces the existing center, which opened in 1957 and was named after Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Wilford Hall in 1963.

The Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005 prompted development of the facility, by calling for the consolidation of all military health care in San Antonio and the repurposing of Wilford Hall into an outpatient clinic.

The new center includes four wings, connected by an airport-style concourse, and houses more than 25 outpatient clinics and clinic services.

When designing the facility, strong emphasis was placed on providing a healing environment, said Capt. James Jordan, a project health facilities officer.

"Research has shown that nature can have a therapeutic and calming effect on patients," Jordan said. "The new center incorporates gardens and natural light throughout the facility to help promote a healing and calming environment."

The modern facility also pays homage to its historic roots through a legacy plaza, which incorporates the flagpole and a 50-year-old grove of oak trees from the original facility.

Energy conservation and sustainability were also considerations when designing the facility, which is projected to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver-certified status at minimum. The LEED rating system is an internationally recognized U.S. Green Building Council certification that promotes and recognizes the design, construction and operation of environmentally sustainable buildings.

Some of the green building design features include energy-efficient design measures to minimize heat gain, such as optimal building orientation, green and reflective roofing, and window shading devices, said Jason Johnson, a AFCEC project manager for the facility. In addition, more than 90 percent of the waste generated on site has been recycled or repurposed.

The funding and construction of the facility was achieved through a unique, yet challenging, phased approach, Johnson said.

"The facility was initially conceived as a single project, but it ended up being broken into four separate phases -- each authorized and funded separately through the medical military construction budget, with different contractors winning various phases," Johnson said. "The thought was that each phase would be constructed as a complete and usable facility on its own, and the infrastructure for the subsequent phases would tie into the previous phase."

Phase one is complete and includes the first wing of the building, a 1000-vehicle parking garage and a central utility plant.

The second phase is scheduled for completion in late spring 2015, and focuses on construction of the second and third wings of the building, as well as a large atrium.
Phase three completes the final wing, which includes the urgent care center and an ambulance shelter, and is scheduled for completion in summer 2015.

The fourth and final phase will begin in fiscal 2016, and will demolish the existing WHASC, energy plant and other outlying buildings. Post-demolition, the area will feature additional parking and landscaping.

"Progress on the new facility is going well," Jordan said. "Healthcare services will continue to be provided at the existing location until the new center is fully operational, which is tentatively scheduled for first quarter 2016."