BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 11, 2011 -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the wounded warrior barracks at Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Aug. 11.

The ceremony also marked the completion of a redesign of the historic Bldg. 17. Patients will transfer from facilities at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, or WRAMC, to the new wounded warrior barracks before Sept. 1.

"The term 'barracks' doesn't quite do this facility justice," said Rear Adm. Christopher Mossey, commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Chief of Civil Engineers. "Since the construction team broke ground for Tranquility Hall last February, they have worked tirelessly -- around the clock -- to achieve one singular, uncompromising goal: To overcome any challenge to build and deliver these world-class berthing, dining, and fitness facilities on time for our men and women who have been injured in the service of our country."

The two barracks towers contain 153 suites, which will house up to 306 residents. The suites that include two bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom, a central living room, and full kitchen, were designed to make life as comfortable as possible for the wounded warrior, featuring wide hallways, roll-in showers, wheel-chair accessible kitchens, flat screen TVs, dishwashers, and other furnishings.

A wing which connects the towers features a large dining room and state-of-the-art kitchen which will serve an anticipated 1,500 meals daily. Other rooms in the facility will serve as offices for multiple commands, representing each military branch to support wounded warriors.

"This lodging facility that you see right here is truly an intermediate care facility of the best order and it is world-class," said Vice Adm. John Mateczun, commander, Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical, or JTF CAPMED.

Building 17's construction and redesign preserved the historic architecture of the existing buildings on campus. It is also one of the finest fitness facilities in the Department of Defense, offering an Olympic-sized swimming pool with full wheelchair access, a gymnasium with an elevated track, racquetball courts, a full weight-room and cardio fitness center.

Bldg. 17 also includes an evidence-based redesign featuring a glass-enclosed atrium that takes advantage of natural lighting and will be used for administration and laboratory research.

"We were able to incorporate a lot of different design ideas into this building," said Capt. Steve Hamer, commanding officer, Officer-in-Charge of Construction, or OICC. Bethesda. "This included a parking garage under the building, a green roof on the new building and bringing the historic building up to Anti-terrorism Force Protection standards while still preserving its historical significance."

OICC Bethesda, a field office of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington, is responsible for construction at NSA Bethesda and National Naval Medical Center, or NNMC, Bethesda to support the influx of patients and staff when WRAMC and NNMC Bethesda integrate into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda in September 2011.

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