The Irwin Army Community Hospital Replacement Project has been in the Fort Riley plans for years. The hospital is intended to replace its older hospital neighbor and is expected to have much more high-tech and up-to-date equipment.
After some delay, the hospital is finally set to open this May.
“They should be getting lots of new equipment, so that they will be able to do a lot more diagnostic testing and help people get better faster,” Abby Bundy, Fort Riley military wife, said.
The construction on this project was delayed for about a year due to construction issues that needed to be fixed, according to Steve Iverson, the deputy district engineer for Project Management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District.
The hospital was originally supposed to make its debut in 2014, according to the Tywanna Sparks’ 2013 article “Hospital Construction More than Half Complete,” that was published on the official Fort Riley website.
Iverson said the project is now 98 percent complete, and was a challenge to complete simply because of the type of project it is.
“All hospital construction projects are difficult,” Iverson said. “They are typically very large, they are typically very expensive and they are typically very complex. All the medical requirements, from the air in the building, the communications system in the building, the fire suppression system in the building; there’s operating rooms, there’s emergency rooms, maternity rooms, psychiatric care. When you think about a building like this, it’s much more complicated that your average building and so, that’s part of the challenge the at Corps of Engineers has had with this, and the pure size of it and so on. You have to be on top of your game on a project like this for four to five years to get it done.”
According to Sparks’ article, this hospital replacement project is the “largest construction project in 100 years for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers builds all types of facilities for soldiers in the military and their family. Some of these things include medical facilities, training facilities, barracks, dining facilities and company operations facilities.
“These are all facilities that are needed so that the war fire, our U.S. Army, can protect the homeland,” Iverson said. “The hospital is an integral part of it, not only for the day-to-day health and well-being of the soldiers and their families, but also for those wounded warriors that have made that sacrifice and come back and they need that extra care.”
Bundy, who is studying at Baker University to become a registered nurse, said she believes the hospital will benefit wounded warriors, and that it will also help strengthen the medical personnel opportunities on base.
“Hopefully they will be able to rehabilitate them faster so that they can get back to doing the things that they like to do; and it should hopefully offer good opportunities for the medical side of the military,” Bundy said.
Some of the hospital’s more superficial features will include a water wall, reflecting pool and healing garden. The facility will also be efficient in water and power usage, meeting the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification environmental standards.
According to Iverson, there will also be a clinic attached to the hospital. As it is set to replace Fort Riley’s current hospital, all the staff will be moving into the new building.