Darnall breaks ground on women’s clinic

By Iuliana Petre

Fort Hood Herald

In 2007, 10,451 babies were born at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center on Fort Hood – an average of seven a day.

As of Sunday, 1,008 babies, an average of eight a day, have been born on Fort Hood.

And hospital officials expect they'll see 10 new babies a day in 2010.

For this reason, the medical center began a $19.7 million expansion project on Tuesday for more space for maternal inpatient and outpatient services at the Women's Health Center. It is expected to be completed in Spring 2010.

Akima Construction Services, LLC, of Anchorage, Alaska, will construct the two-story addition to the east side of the medical center, adding approximately 50,000 square feet.

The first floor will consist of a 20,000-square-foot, full-service obstetrics and gynecology clinic.

The second floor will consist of nine 450-square-foot labor and birthing suites.

The current labor and delivery rooms are located in the building's interior and have no windows. The rooms are only about 225 square feet.

"This clinic is a solution for the increasing number of babies born on Fort Hood that we can all be proud of," said Col. Casper P. Jones III, the medical center's commander. The clinic will annually provide care to more than 78,000 women, of which about 290 are seen per day in the current women's health center.

In an era of multiple deployments, in a place like Fort Hood, from where more than 200,000 soldiers have deployed since 2003, "we owe the same quality of facilities to those who perform (the tough task of ongoing deployments)," said Col. William V. Hill, Fort Hood's garrison commander.

For Ed Morris, president and CEO of Akima Management Services, LLC, the ceremony on Fort Hood marks a special project. Not only was this a high profile event for all involved – the Army, Fort Hood and Akima's management and construction firms – but it is also personal to Scott Morris, president of Akima's construction company.

Scott Morris, who was once was assigned to an engineer battalion on Fort Hood, experienced the birth of his youngest son at Darnall. "(Scott Morris) has a personal connection to Fort Hood," said Ed Morris.

Throughout construction, Akima will post a sign that will state, "Building today for the children of tomorrow," in anticipation of what's to come.

Construction on the project will begin before the end of the month.

Contact Iuliana Petre at ipetre@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7469.

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