With recent market analysis showing that the design-build project delivery method will account for as much as 47 percent of construction spending by 2025, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) is seeing significant growth and success in design-build projects across the country. One such design-build project, the Ireland Army Health Clinic in Fort Knox, Kentucky, was one of DBIA’s recently announced winners of the 2022 National Design-Build Project/Team Award. Along with a National Award of Merit, the project also won the National Award of Excellence, making it this year’s top design-build health care project.
Despite there being 28 owner-initiated and approved changes that impacted the budget and final contracted completion date of the project, Mortenson and CallisonRTKL used the design-build delivery method to complete the Ireland Army Health Clinic in time to meet the targeted “first patient date”. This was the first time in 15 years that an Army medical project met that goal. The design-build team also guided and mediated the needs of many medical user groups during construction. According to DBIA, design-build’s collaborative structure offered the team a productive environment for communicating needs and negotiating options by removing contractual barriers between key stakeholders.
“The success of this project is a result of the project team’s deep knowledge and application of the design-build process,” said Jeremy Wendt, Director of Business Development at Mortenson. “The owner, USACE Louisville District, long ago embraced the design-build methodology and incorporated it into their early project planning. Design-builder, Mortenson, is a national leader in design-build and, along with their design partner, CallisonRTKL, brought years of highly relevant design-build and health care experience and expertise to the project. These three industry leaders formed one team to apply the design-build process to a complex project type not often associated with this delivery method: the military health care facility.”
“We are seeing more impressive projects that are raising the bar for success for design-build teams across the country, pushing the limits of high performance and optimizing triple-bottom line success,” said Lisa Washington, CAE, DBIA Executive Director/CEO. “The collaborative mindset and spirit exhibited by these award-winning teams created the environment for innovative designs, clear lines of communication, and the whole-team approach necessary to elevate ingenuity and successfully navigate unprecedented challenges.”
“The active-duty military population stationed at Fort Knox was being reduced through the relocation of certain missions to other installations,” Wendt said. “The excessive size of the building led to unsustainable operations and maintenance and did not offer the staff the tools and spaces needed to provide the best care for their patients.”
After demolishing the former hospital, the design-build team created a clinic that complies with the needs of patients and provides a modern facility to the training base. The new clinic serves active-duty military and their families and includes site improvements such as outdoor therapy gardens, extensive parking areas, stormwater treatment facilities, and pedestrian plazas/terraces. Services include physical therapy, primary and specialty care, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, and mental health care.
The Ireland Army Health Clinic has also achieved LEED Gold certification for its construction features that reduce environmental impact and for its operational features that will enable environmentally sustainable health care services. The operational features include green design elements such as LED lighting, energy efficient air handling units, and low volatile organic compound finishes.
“The new Ireland Army Health Clinic will have a significant impact on Fort Knox, the surrounding community, and the nation by providing an environmentally sustainable facility to deliver a range of critically important health care services to our military personnel and their families,” Wendt said. “… It is an honor to be a part of a collective team with aligned values and dedication to design-build.”