BETHESDA, MD – Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington celebrated the completion of structural concrete on the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Addition and Alteration project during a topping out ceremony on Friday, June 10, in Bethesda Maryland.
Leadership from NAVFAC Washington were joined by representatives from Defense Health Agency (DHA), Medical Facilities Program Office (MFPO), HDR Inc. and Clark Construction Group to commemorate the milestone structural concrete topping of Building C, the new 575,000-square-foot medical facility. Hundreds of construction teammates were treated to lunch and honored for all the work done to bring the project along successfully to this important milestone.
“’Thank you’ is the main message,” said Capt. Benjamin Leppard, NAVFAC Washington operations officer, to the entire construction team. “’Do no harm’ is the mantra for this project, and you all are performing that way every single day. We are in the midst of an operating hospital and there are patients who are experiencing major events in their lives right now. Their care goes undisturbed thanks to you and I hope you all understand how important that is.”
Execution of the addition and alteration construction project at Walter Reed in phases allows the hospital to remain fully operational. Phase One began in 2020 and early work included demolition of three aging buildings and excavation of 30,000 cubic yards for the 52,000-gross-square-foot mat slab that serves as a foundation for Building C. Phase Two is scheduled to begin in autumn of 2024 after hospital operations move into the south half of Building C. Further demolition will then commence that will allow for construction of the north half of Building C, alongside large-scale renovation of existing medical facilities.
“NAVFAC Washington and the entire NAVFAC enterprise is using this project as a pilot for best construction practices to be employed across the United States Navy and Marine Corps,” said Capt. Leppard. “I appreciate the Clark Construction and NAVFAC partnership, including all of the subcontractors who worked together to pull this important project off.
To date, over 3,400 truckloads of concrete have been driven over 82,000 miles to the project site. Construction crews have poured over 35,000 cubic yards of concrete, installed 4,250 tons of rebar and used over 5,000 sheets of plywood for formwork. The incredible sum of materials, combined with over 550,000 direct man-hours with a sustained labor force of 250 workers, has culminated in a successful feat of dynamic logistics, careful planning, and attention to detail.
“It is exciting to watch this building start to look like the design with the structure now up, the exterior ‘skin’ being installed and work taking place on every floor,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Kaiser, Public Works Department Bethesda military construction (MILCON) director. “This huge achievement deserves to be celebrated not only as a project milestone, but also to recognize the countless people across all stakeholders who have worked long hours to deliver a world-class medical facility that is on time and on target.”
The massive scale of construction has planted the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Addition and Alteration project at the forefront of NAVFAC’s MILCON program. Construction is scheduled to wrap up with the conclusion of Phases Two, Three and Four in 2027.