By Susan A. Merkner, Medical BRAC Public AffairsMarch 31, 2011
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Brooke Army Medical Center employees will begin using a new, six-level parking complex beginning April 4 as access is phased in over the next three weeks.
The satellite parking lots at Fort Sam Houston will be closed incrementally as access to the new parking garage is phased in, according to the BAMC Provost Marshal Office.
Patients and visitors will continue to have access to valet parking services and the surface lots closest to the hospital.
Motorcycle parking for employees, patients and visitors moved March 21 to the rear of lot C, behind the BAMC annex. Rawley Chambers Road was opened to two-way traffic March 22, providing an alternative route for ambulances arriving at the hospital.
Employee access to the new parking complex will be controlled temporarily through parking decals, which have been distributed to employees boarding shuttle buses at the Fort Sam satellite lots by Provost Marshal Office staff.
Employees will enter the garage from the Binz-Engleman access control gate in the morning. As they leave in the afternoon, they will exit through the Binz-Engleman gate if they are driving toward Fort Sam, Interstate 35 South or FM 78.
Those heading for I-35 North should use Rawley Chambers Road and exit the medical center campus from the I-35 access control gate.
"Security guards will check for decals at the garage entrance," said John Randecker, Traffic, BAMC Provost Marshal Office. "Guards also will enforce access to first-floor parking, which is reserved as overflow for patients and visitors only."
The new parking complex initially will be staffed from 6:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Opening times will be gradually adjusted earlier to accommodate traffic during the first month of operation.
Employees who work night and weekend shifts will continue to use surface parking lots, according to the Provost Marshal Office.
Initially, only one access point in and out of the garage will be open due to nearby construction, Randecker said, but the second entrance/exit should be available around July 15 when the nearby construction bubble is expected to be removed.
"Disabled employees are encouraged to continue using the Archery Range parking lot and shuttle-bus service due to safety and traffic concerns related to navigating the sidewalks connecting the parking complex to the hospital," Randecker added.
Until the pedestrian overpass bridge opens in July, those using the new parking garage are asked to use the temporary sidewalk installed at the Binz-Engleman gate side of the parking garage, according to the PMO.
"Employees will appreciate the convenience of the new parking complex as access is phased in over the next several weeks," said BAMC Provost Marshal James L. Hobson Jr.
"They have patiently used the shuttle-bus system to allow safe access to the hospital parking lots for patients and visitors, and their commuting times will be reduced now," Hobson said. "Employees will find the new parking complex is a state-of-the-art facility in terms of design and safety."
The new parking complex features six elevators, emergency telephones and more than 2,000 security cameras that are monitored around the clock.
The ceiling height inside the garage is 7 feet, except for the 8-foot-2-inch pathway from the level one east and west garage entrances to the disabled-services van parking spaces, Hobson said.
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure law called for the relocation of inpatient medical functions from Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base to BAMC at Fort Sam Houston. The new parking structure was built to provide space for the additional employees and patients arriving as part of BRAC changes.
Clark/Hunt, which began construction on the 1.8 million-square-foot, 5,000-space parking complex in March 2009, is scheduled to hand over the facility to the military on March 31. A construction bubble, or fenced-off area, was created to separate the patient-care area from the construction area as work began on the garage, consolidated tower and central energy plant.
To provide for the safety and convenience of BAMC patients and staff, surface lots closest to the hospital were assigned to patients and visitors. Hospital employee parking was moved to five satellite lots on Fort Sam Houston, with a fleet of 18 shuttle buses providing round-trip service beginning in early 2009.
Shuttle service will be phased out between now and September as the Fort Sam satellite lots are closed, Randecker said.
Valet parking for patients is available 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the medical mall entrance. Patients and visitors should enter through the I-35 access control gate.
Additional patient parking is available in lots A and B, accessible by using the Binz-Engleman gate, and lot D, accessible from the I-35 gate.
For information, call the Provost Marshal Office at 210-916-1493.