Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, helped celebrate the completion of another military construction project at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 7.
The new $17 million multi-purpose building houses the Soldier and Family Assistance Center and the Warrior Transition Battalion Headquarters and was built by Doyon Government Group. It is the first combined SFAC/WTB facility in the country.
The building offers a full-service Child Development Center so those doing business there have childcare while attending appointments or receiving services. It’s also 100 percent accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The SFAC serves Warriors in Transition and their family members and is a one-stop-shop for wounded, injured and ill Soldiers and their families. Services provided include financial assistance, education opportunity information, social services, transition assistance, veterans’ benefits, child and youth services, referrals to other agencies and more.
While the SFAC offers wounded warriors assistance with services and other benefits, the WTB provides the care they need to heal and transition back into the Army or civilian life.
The Warrior Transition Battalion was created as part of the Army Medical Action Plan, developed in 2007 by U.S. Army Medical Command, replacing the former medical hold units. The WTB headquarters are now adjacent to the WTB barracks, which has 204 two-bedroom suites, a covered courtyard, and is within walking distance to Madigan Army Medical Center.
The building is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified gold, which is a “green” building rating system. LEED certification includes four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold and platinum and correspond to five green design categories including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and outdoor environmental quality.
Not commonly found in military buildings, this building has an Open Loop Geothermal System. This technology uses the earth’s crust to help heat and cool the building via a series of pipes in the ground to transport the heat from the earth instead of using energy to generate it.
Another environmentally friendly aspect of the building is its use of Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof. Most buildings rely on steam, natural gas or electricity for its power needs. The system installed in the new building has 220 panels supplying power to the building.
Despite the many challenges the contractor faced during construction with the unique features of the facility, including its size and complexity, it took only 517 days to design and construct.