By Patricia Deal

Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center public affairs

After two years of renovation and repair, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center's Building 36001 has emerged as a modern, safe and energy-efficient workplace for hundreds of medical center staff and patients.

The building, originally constructed as a barracks in 1969 but presently houses administrative and clinic operations, was in bad shape before the renovation, having several life and safety deficiencies and numerous repair issues, said Brian Prediger, the medical center's chief of facilities management.

"Now it is completely updated with new windows, new roof and new mechanical and electrical systems," he said. "We installed a new fire alarm and sprinkler system for fire safety and it is handicap accessible, as we added ramps and an elevator. We gained more space by converting the third floor's previous medical-hold barracks to administrative offices."

Prediger said the best feature is that the building is now rated as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver building.

"Its construction was designed to reduce energy consumption by 20 to 25 percent, thus saving us thousands of dollars on our utility bill per year for that building. That's just outstanding for a 44,000 square-foot administrative/clinical building originally constructed 40 years ago," he said.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that provides verification that a building's construction and operation meet green building design criteria such as energy savings and improved indoor environmental quality.

Building 36001 is one of the first medical center buildings at Fort Hood to achieve a silver rating, Prediger said. He said the future medical center, projected to be open for patient care in 2015, will reduce energy consumption by more than 30 percent, achieving a gold certification from the council.

"LEED certification is a great accomplishment as it validates the energy savings and sustainable programs that not only benefit our staff and patients and facility management, but the environment, too," Prediger said.

While she's only been working in the renovated building for a couple weeks, Fredene Burnett, a human resources assistant, said she is happy with the new building.

"It is such a change from the old one," she said. "You never could tell what it would be like in the office in the old building - something was always either broken or breaking.

"Now we have a clean and modern place to work. The temperature in our office keeps us comfortable, and I know we're safer. Having everything new and up-to-date just makes for a better workplace and helps make a good impression on our customers."

Another benefit the medical center community can expect from the building renovation is the freeing up of about 100 additional parking spaces, Prediger said. Temporary trailers to house Building 36001 administrative and clinic operations were set up in the building's designated parking lot, and they will be completely dismantled and removed by the end of the year.

Departments housed in Building 36001 include Occupational Health, Human Resources, Troop Command, Resource Management, Hospital Operations, Business Operations, Facilities Management, Southern Regional Medical Command Contracting Cell, Medical Coders and Administrative Department of Family Medicine.

All departments have moved from the trailers back to the new building and are seeing patients and customers.

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