After surviving the horrors of battle, U.S. soldiers deserve the best medical care that Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals can give to them. And the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital (JAHVH) in Tampa, Fla., strives to do that daily with its state-of-the-art technology and its team of qualified practitioners.
JAHVH is growing its capabilities with an expansion that is being built by Archer Western Contractors in partnership with the DeMaria Building Company. Project Manager Randy Moon says that the project includes a vertical expansion over an existing spinal cord injury facility that consists of two new floors and two penthouses. When finished, this will occupy 170,000 square feet and feature 55 beds with large rehabilitation spaces for providing specialty care.
The new space, Moon says, will be used to treat polytrauma patients who have suffered multiple injuries and some are confined to wheelchairs. The Archer Western/DeMaria JV also will build a 20,000-square-foot building at the new recreation area of the hospital to house two therapy pools.
The therapy pools will be used to rehabilitate polytrauma patients. The new recreation area also will include a basketball court, putting green, horseshoe pit and six different surfaces for wheelchair patients to learn how to operate on them.
Archer Western/DeMaria JV has constructed multiple facilities for the VA hospital network. Although this is the first project for the James A. Haley Veteran Hospital campus, both are more than qualified to build these types of facilities, Moon asserts. “As a company, there have been over 10 projects that Archer Western Contractors and DeMaria Building Company have been awarded,” he says. “We have performed various VA projects all over the country.”
Archer Western/DeMaria JV has to finish its work in the hospital by January 2013. Currently, the company is on track to deliver the project on time, Moon says. Additionally, partnering with the VA has been integral to erect the structure safely while working over the existing facility.
“The biggest challenge was going vertical,” Moon says, adding that Archer Western/ DeMaria JV dedicated a large amount of time to pre-planning the addition with the hospital. “The first priority was to ensure the safety of the facility below while having a suspended load over [them]. We try to keep that facility below us as functional as possible without interrupting them.”
He explains that the pre-planning involved was a coordinated effort by the Archer Western/DeMaria JV team, the VA construction office, the steel subcontractor and the operating facility. “It was a daily task to ensure that offices and rooms below were cleared of personnel to be able to erecting steel for that day,” he says.
The biggest challenge was going vertical.
“Safety is the No. 1 priority for all workers on site and the facility below,” he continues. “Archer Western/DeMaria JV’s goal is to ensure that everyone goes home safely. The job site motto is: ‘Safety is the Journey Home.’”
All in Place
Based in Atlanta, Archer Western was formed in 1983 and is a part of The Walsh Group, which operates sixteen offices across the nation. The company is a subsidiary of The Walsh Group, a general contacting, construction management and design/build firm. “In all of its years of construction operations, Archer Western Contractors has never failed to complete a contract,” the company says.
Moon, who has been with The Walsh Group for seven years, says that the company has survived through such efforts as strong planning and being selective with the types of projects it takes on. “The owners just make good decisions on what projects to take and what not to take,” he says.
Moon praises Archer Western/DeMaria JV’s subcontractors, who have been key to the success of the VA Polytrauma project. “All subcontractors are an intricate part of completing a project,” he says. “Every sub here has put forth an effort to try to stay on schedule.
“Everyone has contributed to making this a successful environment,” Moon continues. Archer Western/DeMaria JV’s key partners include MC Dean.
He also praises the architectural firm, HDR Architecture Inc. “They have also been a part of the overall team to make this project successful,” he says.
Moon foresees that Archer Western/DeMaria JV will continue to stay on schedule as the project continues. “Everything [starts to] fall in place once the structure goes up,” he says. “Once the enclosure is finished, we’re going to start the build-out. Every piece is integral for making this a successful project.”
In addition, the two will collaborate again. Archer Western/DeMaria JV will soon start work on a project with a budget of more than $92 million, the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Bay Pines, Fla. The company will construct a new tower for treating mentally ill patients and renovate its central energy plant.