FRANKFURT, Germany - More than 230 architects and engineers representing 57 U.S. and German A/E firms attended an Industry Day June 2 to receive information on an upcoming project that will eventually replace the aging Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Ramstein Air Base Clinic.

During the event, hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District, TRICARE Management Activity, U.S. Army Health Facility Planning Agency, U.S. Air Force Health Support Division and district representatives provided attendees an overview of the U.S. hospital project as well as the various contracting requirements for firms.

"Today is the first day of a multi-year effort for everyone here in the room and at the table for us to develop and build a world-class U.S. hospital here in Germany - a cooperative effort between the U.S. government and the German government," said Robert Haddix, chief of TMA's Acquisition and Management Office.

The hospital replacement project, estimated to cost $1.2 billion, will provide joint venture design opportunities available for U.S. and German firms.

Not only is the project large, there are substantial complexities in designing a hospital for the U.S. in Germany, said Rick Flansburg, the district's senior project manager.

"We're going to need a team that has the experience and capabilities that the design of this facility will require and will ensure the design captures both U.S. and German requirements," he said.

The Europe District, which will oversee design on behalf of TMA, is required to utilize the process outlined by the Auftragsbauten GrundsAfA$tze 1975, or ABG 75, an agreement between the U.S. and German governments that defines the process of how to accomplish construction works in Germany, said Col. John Kem, district commander.

"The ABG process has been around for a long time. Both the U.S. and Germany are comfortable with it," he said. "But with a project of this magnitude we want to make sure the project is done successfully, on time, on budget, and that we collectively share all the risks. So we've been collaborating on how we can do that and it's been pretty successful so far."

The end state, said Jim Noble, chief of the district's engineering branch, is a world-class health care facility that not only meets standards, but exceeds them to allow for future growth and changes needed to keep up with technology requirements.

"We do that by executing quality design and construction. That's what the reputation of the Corps of Engineers is and that's what we'll do throughout this project," he said. "This will require a huge, collective team creating a seamless partnership with the host nation and all the partners, including the A/E design team, construction team and everyone else involved."

The district anticipates creating a joint office located near the project site where highly-qualified professionals from both U.S. and German sides would come together and dedicate their time solely to the hospital program - an effort utilized to bring the U.S. Army Europe's $700 million Efficient Basing-Grafenwoehr program to its successful completion earlier this year, Kem said.

"We are looking for an A/E consortium that will take this project from 0 to 100 percent design and throughout the duration of the project," he said. "When you have a project at this price tag, of this duration, of this importance, that's very important to do."

The district plans to approach the project with a U.S. firm leading initial design in coordination with a German firm to ensure lessons learned from similar stateside projects are incorporated while adhering to German construction laws and codes. Once the initial design is reviewed by all stakeholders, design lead will then transition to the German firm.

"The Europe District, USACE, health facility planning officials and TRICARE Management Activity have been doing a lot of work over the last year just to get to this point on setting the conditions for this project to succeed," he said. "Behind the scenes, there's been a lot of work between the U.S. and the German federal ministry of construction on trying to figure out what is the right way to execute this project and how to do it and bring it to a successful conclusion."

Currently, medical officials at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and health care planning administrators for the Army and Air Force are finalizing operational requirements for the new hospital.

"What makes this project different is the incorporation of this contingency mission with normal hospital operations," said Air Force Maj. Matt Sakal, director of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Surgeon General's Medical Support Plans and Programs Office. "When you see the troops coming off the plane on the flightline, you truly understand why this project is different from a traditional hospital project. It really is a unique operation. And we have some unique partnerships with this project, not just with the host nation, but also with the Army and Air Force."

The LRMC is the largest American medical center and the only level II trauma center outside the continental U.S. It is also the only American tertiary care medical center in Europe. The center provides primary care, specialized consultative care, hospitalization and treatment for more than 245,000 U.S. military personnel and their families within the U.S. European Command.

Additionally, the LRMC is the evacuation and treatment center for all injured U.S. servicemembers, civilians and contractors, as well as military forces from 44 coalition countries serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A new combined facility is the most efficient long-term solution to continue providing quality medical care for wounded warriors, servicemembers and families for decades to come, said Lt. Col. Steve Wooldridge, commander of the U.S. Army Health Facility Planning Agency.

"This is more than just a place - this is a home away from home. When Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors, when wounded warriors land in Landstuhl, they're home," he said. "This is long-term planning about how we can make this environment something that our Soldiers, our wounded warriors, our families stationed here, what they really deserve."