By Alicia Lacy
Fort Hood Herald
The ball got rolling on construction of the new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Monday as crews began the physical demolition of Prichard Stadium, commonly known as Hood Stadium.
The process began July 12 with crews surveying the area and removing all materials that will be reused around the installation. About 95 percent of all the stadium's demolished materials will be recycled, information from Fort Hood stated.
The stadium will be demolished to make room for the nearly $1 billion medical center, which will almost double the size of the current facility. The construction-design contract has not been awarded, but groundbreaking for the medical center is tentatively scheduled for September.
Three construction-design teams were short-listed for the project and began recruiting potential local sub-contractors early this year.
The American Recovery Reinvestment Act project was funded in two parts: $621 million through stimulus funds last March and an additional $306 million in September, which allowed the medical center to be constructed in a single phase rather than multiple ones.
The project includes the design and construction of the 947,000-square-foot medical center on about 70 acres of land where Hood Stadium now stands - a preferred site because of its access to the Santa Fe gate and ample space for parking.
Lt. Col. Kurt Gustafson, chief of logistics for Darnall, said the new facility will allow the medical center to consolidate services located across the installation.
It is not known what the post will do with the current medical facility.
A new stadium will be erected on the west end of Fort Hood, behind the Clear Creek Main Exchange.
Jeff Salmon, installation planner for the Directorate of Public Works, said the Hood Stadium contract was awarded late last week.
The new stadium will be larger, with a planned capacity of 5,500 people. It will have a permanent stage, and can accommodate sporting events and other forms of entertainment.
The new stadium, which will carry the same name, is scheduled to be completed by early 2012.
Prichard Field was named after Maj. Gen. Vernon E. Prichard, former commander of the 1st and 14th Armored Divisions.
The former stadium was dedicated July 4, 1951, said Richard Powell, III Corps and Fort Hood command historian.
Powell said the stadium was built after soldiers died in car crashes when they drove away from the Fort Hood area.
"The leadership tried to put as much (as they could) for soldiers to do here," he said.
The stadium was built with funds from movie theater and Morale, Welfare and Recreation revenues.
Contact Alicia Lacy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.