By Brian Dwyer, U.S. Army Corps of EngineersOctober 14, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Construction on Fort Sam Houston reached another milestone Sept. 30.
A total of 24 contracts worth $164 million were awarded in fiscal year 2010 for BRAC and non-BRAC construction projects on the post and Camp Bullis.
Counting the contracts awarded for construction projects on local Air Force bases, there was an overall total of 33 contracts worth $397 million awarded during the year for BRAC and non-BRAC military construction projects across all San Antonio installations.
Several major projects launched in FY10 on Fort Sam Houston are making steady progress toward scheduled completion by the spring and late summer of next year.
One of the largest projects involves creating a campus of facilities to accommodate the relocation of Headquarters, Installation Management Command to Fort Sam Houston from the Washington, D.C. area.
Work began during the year on several elements of this campus, including a new 168,000-square-foot headquarters building and a new instructional facility for the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, a subcommand of IMCOM.
Renovation of the historic Fort Sam Houston Theater was also initiated to provide a new home for the FMWRC's Army Entertainment Division.
Fiscal year 2010 also marked the start of construction on a facility to house the headquarters of the 502nd Air Base Wing, which will oversee installation support functions for Fort Sam Houston, Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases.
Elsewhere across the post, the ongoing progress of other projects that began before fiscal year 2010 has become increasingly evident.
The massive footprint of the 181,000 square foot Tri-Services Research Lab has taken shape, now that the project has passed the half-way point of its construction schedule.
Also, the Medical Education and Training Campus continues to phase in courses after attaining initial operational capability this summer. METC is on the way to becoming fully operational in 2011 when all of its dozen core facilities are scheduled to be finished.
The campus is consolidating the enlisted medical training programs of all branches of the military, providing instruction for a variety of medical specialists, such as combat medics, Navy corpsmen, radiology technicians, and biomedical equipment technologists.
Other BRAC facilities are already being fully utilized by their tenants. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled on Oct. 21 for the Primary Health Clinic. This facility is assuming outpatient care responsibilities from Brooke Army Medical Center because the hospital is being expanded to absorb inpatient care functions from Wilford Hall Medical Center.
In February, a grand opening is planned for the Joint Center of Excellence for Battlefield Health and Trauma Research, built adjacent to BAMC to consolidate research programs from all service branches.
An additional benefit of the BRAC program is the sustainability that's being incorporated into the facilities. The project to expand and renovate BAMC recently marked progress toward obtaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification.
LEED is a national "green" building rating and certification program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, D.C. to promote improved environmental and human health performance.
LEED standards call for the use of designs and materials that will produce energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, and improved indoor environmental quality. A review of the project's design produced 23 points on the LEED rating scale. A total of between 33 and 38 points is required to qualify for Silver status. An additional 15 points are being sought during the construction phase of the project, which is expected to continue through next summer.
Earlier this year, the dining facility that's part of METC gained LEED Silver certification, after a USGBC review yielded 35 points on the LEED scale. This building is not expected to be the last METC facility to become certified.
Representatives of the team that's managing construction of METC are pursuing efforts to have 11 additional METC buildings certified as Silver or higher by the USGBC. When completed next year, METC stands to be one of the few campuses in the nation to have attained campus-wide LEED certification.
With less than a year remaining until the legislative deadline for finishing BRAC construction projects in San Antonio, all of the pieces are falling into place for the final push to the end.