By Chuck Walker
MOBILE, Ala. – Teamwork is one of the most important aspects for any project to be completed successfully.
Combined efforts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District, the Veteran’s Administration, and contractors were necessary to deliver the $148.6 million James A. Haley VA Bed Tower in Tampa, Florida January 21, 2023.
Two Mobile District divisions, Project Management and Construction, working together helped to ensure success to the five-year project.
“The overall success of the VA Bed Tower is due to our ability to convert plans and specifications into something tangible, that establishes an enduring legacy for the benefit of others,” George Condoyannis, Construction Division chief said. “Ribbon-cutting ceremonies are attended and celebrated by many, but there are only a select few in the crowd who know first-hand the degree and intensity of the daily construction effort required to reach that milestone.”
The bed tower adds 245,000 square feet of new space and another 5,000 square feet of renovated space to the hospital.
It includes 96 medical-surgical single-patient rooms and 40 intensive care unit beds. The Bed Tower also features a new cafeteria, outdoor dining area and a retail store, as well as assorted support offices.
Teamwork between District employees Krista Fayard, Project Manager for the Bed Tower and David Poindexter, Construction Control Representative at the site, played a key role in the success of the tower.
Fayard said although her work on the project was extensive and challenging, it is the highlight of her 20-year career.
“The Bed Tower was one of the first VA Mega Projects to be led by USACE, and the only design-build VA Mega Project in the nation,” Fayard said. “The beginning stages of the project were stressful as USACE developed its process and procedures in working with the VA. As difficult as the work has been, it is the most rewarding work I have ever accomplished in my career. Serving the veterans is the most admirable way I could ever give back for all they have done and given to our country.”
Condoyannis said that Poindexter’s contribution to the Tampa VA Bed Tower build was instrumental in the project being a success.
“While outstanding construction management requires a concerted team effort, there are always individuals who rise to the occasion and distinguish themselves through their unwavering devotion to duty,” Condoyannis said. “These “quiet professionals” carry a burden of pressure and responsibility that is rarely understood or recognized.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by the James A. Haley VA Hospital Director David Dunning, former Director Joe Battle, Florida Congresspersons Kathy Castor, Gus Bilirakis and Laurel Lee, and Dr. Michael Brennan, the VA Executive Director for the Office of Construction and Facilities Management.
Dunning said the partnership between the VA and USACE was a resounding success.
“As the first design-build partnership between the VA and USACE, I am pleased we were able to deliver to our veterans an aesthetic healing environment that not only mirrors our quality care but also provides a more private care environment focused on the Veteran and their families,” Dunning said.
Col. Jeremy Chapman, Mobile District Commander, stated he was glad USACE was able to deliver an important project that benefits our nation’s veterans.
“The new VA Bed Tower will serve our great veterans for decades to come and is a top priority for our Nation,” Chapman said. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s strong partnership with the VA delivered another world class facility four Nation’s patriots in the Tampa region. The entire team should be proud of this state-of-the-art facility that took five years of hard work to complete.”