HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) has provided a fast track to a project to help Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, Colo., meet its goal of promoting healthy lifestyles.

Managed by the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, Ala., the $9 million ARRA project is renewing and reconfiguring the Nutrition Care Division facility at the hospital to meet U.S. Army Medical Command goals.

"This is one of four sites - including Fort Eustis, Va., Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Campbell, Ky. - being renovated by Huntsville Center," said Roger Brosemer, project manager in the Medical Repair and Renewal program of the Huntsville Center's Installation Support and Programs Management Directorate. "This concept is a fairly radical change from the old-style food-service concepts within Army hospitals."

The Medical Repair and Renewal program offers an efficient method for design and execution of all types of medical facility repairs, renovations and minor construction projects and provides various services to support multiple Department of Defense and non-DoD agencies.

As aging food service areas within Army hospitals are renovated, they are moving to new concepts that provide good-tasting, fresh, nutritional food faster - resulting in a higher customer satisfaction, Brosemer said.

"The most important aspect of our renovation project is our ability to educate our Soldiers and other beneficiaries on healthy eating through our Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Soldiers initiative," said Maj. Kerryn Story, chief of the Nutrition Care Division at Evans Army Community Hospital.

"We will have a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, the first of its kind within DoD, where we will be able to expand our nutrition education teaching capabilities," Story said. "We plan to use a team approach in teaching healthy eating with both registered dietitians and culinary experts. "

The facility will also provide a more healthy variety of choices and faster service, including made-to-order meals delivered to inpatient rooms within 30 minutes, she said.

John J. Kirlin Special Projects LLC, based in Rockville, Md., is completing the work on a tight, 16-month schedule for the three-phase, 21,000 square foot project that required design, demolition, abatement and construction work, said Tobin Allen, senior project manager for the company's northwest region.

The first phase was completed in February, providing a transitional facility for the kitchen and administrative staff. The second phase should be complete, with Nutrition Care Division staff working in their new facility, by September, Allen said. The final phase, renovation of the dining area, should be complete in December.

The project will also earn U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) credits by incorporating reflective roofing material, recycling areas, efficient air handling equipment, individual lighting controls and upgraded exhaust hoods.