SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (Sept. 5, 2018) -- With the Hawaiian blessing complete, leaders from across Army Medicine, U.S Army Garrison- Hawaii and the 25th Infantry Division officially broke ground for a new medical annex at the U.S. Army Health Clinic- Schofield Barracks on Sept. 5, 2018.

Chaplain Kordell Kekoa described to the attendees the purpose of the blessing and the importance of the land before bringing senior leaders forward to officially mark the beginning of the construction project.

"The addition of the medical annex to Schofield Barracks for the behavioral health, physical therapy and dental clinics will provide residents and beneficiaries with a world class facility, complete with the latest features and backed by evidence based design," stated Col. Dave Zimmerman, commander, USAHC-SB. "The electrical upgrades alone will mark the facility as one of the most energy efficient on the installation."

With multiple projects taking place on the campus concurrently, a team from the Health Facility Planning Agency is working diligently to meet both planning and construction timelines throughout the project.

"The project is complex with a multitude of medical systems that involve detailed engineering solutions from oral evacuation systems, to electrical substations, to nurse call systems, to medical gas systems, to behavior health security and surveillance systems," said Maj. Sean Colley, project manager, Health Facilities Planning Agency.

For the Health Facility Planning Agency success is the only option according to Colley, whose role is to evaluate problems and provide solutions within military regulations as well as financial and physical material restrictions.

"Connecting the steel with concrete in all the right places and not being off more than 1/32 of an inch is no easy task," said Colley. "Ensuring gas and electrical don't intermix, ensuring clean filtered water makes it to the dental chairs, ensuring light levels are correct in all right spaces -- it all comes with a huge amount of coordination between civilian companies and military organizations."

For many of the departments who will occupy the new medical annex, operations remain the same.

"Our role hasn't really changed over the past year. We still provide the region's best behavioral health care to Soldiers, family members, and beneficiaries," said Lt. Col. Evelyn Vento, chief of behavioral health, USAHC-SB. "Currently, we will have room and plan to house the following clinics in the annex: child and family behavioral health system, graduate medical education, multidisciplinary behavioral health, and the intensive outpatient program."

For those who have been a part of the planning, the groundbreaking was a significant step in the ongoing project. The tone from the organizations involved was one of short term success as they prepare for the next stages of construction on the medical annex at the USAHC-SB.

"The work that the clinic, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers- Honolulu District and Hensel Phelps is partnering on will have a lasting impact on the residents of Schofield Barracks beyond their medical care," said Zimmerman. "I am proud to represent the Health Clinic and I am proud to call the U.S. Army Health Clinic- Schofield Barracks my medical home of choice."