By Chuck Walker
MOBILE, Ala. – The US Army Corps of Engineers and Mobile District Headquarters took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the James A. Haley Veteran’s Administration Bed Tower in Tampa, Florida, January 21, 2023.
The ceremony marked the culmination of Tampa VA’s construction project that began in 2018.
This was the first major design-build construction project managed by USACE for the VA under approved Congressional legislation.
“The new VA Bed Tower will serve our great veterans for decades to come and is a top priority for our nation,” Col. Jeremy Chapman, Mobile District Commander said. “The US Army Corps of Engineer’s strong partnership with the VA delivered another world class facility to 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.”
The $148.6 million 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.
USACE South Atlantic Division Commander Brig. Gen. Daniel Hibner said the Bed Tower could not have happened without the great working relationship USACE has with the VA.
“This project is part of an ongoing partnership with the between the VA and USACE to provide the care to our heroes,” Hibner said. “USACE teamed up with the VA to provide state-of-the-art facilities to our warfighters and veterans. With this team approach we worked together to deliver a first-class facility that we and our veterans can be proud of.”
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.
Krista Fayard, the Mobile District Project Manager for the VA Tampa Bed Tower, said the ceremony was the culmination of six years of hard work that paid off.
“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 phases of this project were stressful, and this project overcame a multitude of challenges from construction related issues. It’s the most rewarding work I have ever accomplished in my career. I’m proud of the Bed Tower and I’m extremely proud of our Tampa team.”
Hibner stated he was glad USACE was able to deliver an important project that benefits our nation’s veterans.
“Projects like this have a special place in the hearts of all of us,” Hibner said. “Along with the VA, we realize the importance of this facility and we are honored to be a part of it. This project is a great example of the Corps’ “Building Strong.”