1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
SAMMC Groundbreaking
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Military leaders, construction officials, and wounded warriors joined Monday to break ground on start of construction of the San Antonio Military Medical Center, a $724-million construction and renovation project at Brooke Army Medical Center and Wil... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Army Surgeon General
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Army News Service, Dec. 10, 2008) -- Military leaders, construction officials and wounded warriors joined up Monday to break ground for construction of the San Antonio Military Medical Center, a $724-million construction and renovation project at Brooke Army Medical Center and Wilford Hall Medical Center.

The construction, expected to take almost three years, will unify Wilford Hall Medical Center and Brooke Army Medical Center. The former will become SAMMC-South and Brooke will be known as SAMMC-North.

Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker and Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. James Roudebush were guest speakers at the ceremony.

Roudebush stressed the importance of providing the best care to all service members, retirees and their families.

"The medical capabilities that are here in the community, the leadership's view of the importance of the military and military medicine really makes San Antonio the perfect home for this kind of capability," Roudebush said.

SAMMC-South and SAMMC-North will provide tremendous training benefits for the tactical-level medical professionals serving in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard, officials said. They said SAMMC will continue to train more than 600 physician residents per year for the Army and it will train the Air Force in 37 clinical areas, all of which have already been integrated except for General Surgery, which is scheduled for integration in summer 2009, and Orthopedics, which is scheduled for integration in summer 2010.

SAMMC-North campus will consist of 425 inpatient beds, 32 operating rooms for Inpatient and Ambulatory Surgery, Level 1 Trauma/Emergency Room, Medical, Pediatric, and Surgical Subspecialty Clinic, Primary Care, Labor/Delivery/Recovery, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Bone Marrow Unit, and New Center of Excellence: Cardio-Vascular, Maternal-Child, Battlefield Health and Trauma.

SAMMC-North, including the Fort Sam Houston Primary Care Clinic, will add about 791,000 square feet of new construction and 314,000 square feet of renovation with costs projected at $673 million.

Included in the new construction at SAMMC-North is the Consolidated Tower, or CoTo, with the emergency department, inpatient floors, clinics and administrative space adding 738,000 square feet; a multi-level garage with 5,000 parking spaces and a central energy plant.

SAMMC-South campus will be one of the largest ambulatory care centers in the DoD and will offer primary care, around-the-clock urgent care for trainees, medical, pediatric and surgical subspecialty clinics, to include allergy, dermatology, sleep disorders, chiropractic, podiatry, ENT, audiology/speech, flight medicine, oral surgery, and new center of excellence: eye care.

SAMMC-South will add about 186,000 square feet of renovation with costs projected at $51 million. A replacement ambulatory surgical clinic project is currently under consideration as an alternative to the renovation project. It would construct a 645,000-square-foot replacement Ambulatory Surgery Center with costs projected at $441 million.

"The collaboration and economies of scale we achieve in combing our efforts allow us to leverage our resources and expertise in a way that we were not able to before and we will all gain from these efficiencies by enjoying better facilities, better educational opportunities, and better access to care and treatment," Schoomaker said.

"I have no doubt that we will continue to reinvent ourselves to define and pursue the distinction of being world-class through joint and collaborative ventures with our sister services. Let there be no doubt that Army, Air Force and Navy medicine - with our VA partners in federal medicine - is and will remain second to none. Our groundbreaking today sends this message loud and clear," said Schoomaker.

Once the integration and construction are complete, the Air Force and Army will jointly staff and operate the San Antonio Military Medical Center, with both services staffing the inpatient facility at Fort Sam Houston (North Campus) and the outpatient facility at Lackland AFB (South Campus). SAMMC replaces both WHMC and BAMC as the medical flagship for the second-largest beneficiary population in the Department of Defense.

BRAC-related transition actions are scheduled to be completed by Sept. 15, 2011.

For more information on the integration of BRAC San Antonio or to get updates, please log onto

(Maria Gallegos serves with Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs.)