NAVAL WEAPONS STATION CHARLESTON,S.C. —
Construction will begin this spring on a new Consolidated Medical Clinic at Naval Weapons Station Charleston.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast awarded a $41.5 million military construction project to GSC Construction Company Inc., of Augusta, Ga., Dec. 28 to build a 188,000 square-foot Consolidated Medical Clinic at Naval Weapons Station Charleston.
The new facility will replace the existing Naval Health Clinic Charleston at its Rivers Avenue location and Naval Weapons Station Branch Medical Clinics to be co-located with the Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic at Naval Weapons Station Charleston in Goose Creek. Naval Health Clinic Charleston recently changed its name from Naval Hospital Charleston to more accurately reflect its current scope of services. The project represents the significance of the continued partnership between the DOD and VA.
"We are excited to continue the transition to the new Naval Health Clinic by consolidating our own services into a modern, two-story ambulatory clinic and share our facility, as well as some services, with the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which will operate a Community Based Outpatient Clinic from the facility," said Naval Health Clinic Charleston Commanding Officer Capt. Celia H. Horton.
This collaborative project represents a strong partnership with the co-location of a Charleston VA Medical Center Community Based Outpatient Clinic and a Navy Military Treatment Facility at the Naval Weapons Station. The two are working closely together to assess their joint needs and meet the requirements of active-duty, retiree and veteran communities in the area.
"We have a very collaborative relationship with the Navy and the VA, so we always look for opportunities to share services with other branches when we can," said Col. Donnalee Sykes, 437th Medical Group commander.
The Navy and VA partnership will greatly enhance care for local military and veteran beneficiaries. Active-duty, retirees, their respective families and veterans will have access to a state-of-the-art facility where patients will share in the benefits, technology and experience that comes with utilizing a highly-affiliated, tertiary-level VA Medical
Center offering comprehensive primary, mental health and specialty services to meet all patient needs.
Charleston is one of many metropolitan areas in which closer DOD/VA partnerships are forming. Joint use of DOD/VA medical facilities are also being built in Pensacola, Fla., San Antonio and Chicago. Several of these facilities are similar in scope and concept to the Consolidated Medical Clinic. The Chicago facility, for example, is a joint hospital offering comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care to Navy members, their families and veterans.
The Consolidated Medical Clinic will be divided into three two-story rectangular wings arranged around a central lobby/waiting area. The three separate wings divide the building into specific spaces for support departments, clinical spaces and VA spaces connecting key points to allow patients easy access to and from all areas. Walking distances between clinical areas will be minimal and allow for enhanced vehicular and pedestrian safety. The facility will include a patient drop-off area, a pharmacy drive-through and a separate VA entrance.
The existing Naval Health Clinic Charleston, which was constructed in the early '70s as a 500-bed facility, no longer provides optimal care to the area's military population and would be very costly to reconfigure to the type of care currently needed in the Charleston area.
The construction project is scheduled to begin in the spring of this year and is expected to be completed by January 2009 to open its doors for patients April 2009.
(Airman Melissa B. Harper contributed to this article.)