By Julia LeDoux, Special CorrespondentNovember 28, 2008
Base Realignment and Closure was the topic as community leaders from throughout Prince William and Fairfax counties gathered Thursday at Fort Belvoir for the installation's Community Relations Breakfast.
The yearly gathering at the Community Center allows Belvoir officials to update the civilian community on what is happening behind the installation's gates.
"This program is designed to provide you with information and a little interaction with Soldiers," said Installation Commander Col. Jerry Blixt.
This year, the event opened with an Army Strong video called Faces of Strength, in which Soldiers, family members, and retirees discussed their feelings about serving the nation. The video was followed by introductions of several Fort Belvoir Soldiers who proudly shared their military experiences at Belvoir and across the military. The group was led by Fort Belvoir's NCO of the Year, Staff Sgt. Bradley Morrow.
BRAC 2005 will bring an additional 19,300 personnel, a new hospital, millions of square feet of additional office space and new federal agencies to Belvoir by 2011.
"What we have done in the last year, if you thought that was a lot, when you come to this breakfast next year, you're going to be amazed twice or three times as much," pledged Col. Mark Moffatt, deputy garrison commander for transformation and BRAC.
Moffatt said over the past year the installation has begun construction on two major buildings that have a total combined square footage of more than 3.5 million square feet.
"That's probably about a third of the total square footage we have on all of Fort Belvoir, and we're doing it in just two buildings, one a hospital and one a new campus for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency," Moffatt continued. "And, we have many, many, many more buildings to go."
The 2.41 million square foot facility that will house the NGA has been fast- tracked and is on schedule to be completed on time, Moffatt said.
The 1.287 million square foot Fort Belvoir Community Hospital complex will have 120 inpatient beds, be home to numerous medical clinics including a cancer center and well as two parking garages. The facility is designed to be environmentally friendly and will collect precipitation gathered on its roof and reuse it to water its grass.
"This facility is on a fast track," stressed Moffatt. "This facility was given some additional money to make it happen and it's going to be finished, the building is going to be finished by late 2010. Less than two years from now that building will be done, completely ready to go."
After the hospital has been built, it will be outfitted with all new, state-of-the-art equipment.
"Our goal right now is to see the first patient in the new hospital by, I believe, April 2, 2011," Moffatt said.
Emergency room physician Dr. Rick Repeta doubles as head of the Dewitt Health Care Network's Integration and Transition Office.
"We're really creating the next generation of military health care facilities," he said. "This will be the vanguard for what will be the transformation of the military health care system."
Moffatt also discussed the relocation of the Washington Headquarters Service to Mark Center in Alexandria, the construction of buildings that will house the Missile Defense Agency, work to complete the last two miles of the Fairfax County Parkway and expansion that will take place at Rivanna Station. He then turned his attention to the widening that will occur on many of the installation's main roads such as Gunston, Pohick and Belvoir.
"We have to widen roads like Tulley Gate road and Pohick from Route 1 all the way in so we can take care of our community friends on the outside and don't cause any additional problems on Route 1," Moffatt explained.
Water, sewer, gas, power and telecommunications lines throughout the installation will also be replaced as Belvoir gears up for the additional personnel that are headed its way, he added.