The healthcare delivered inside Fort Stewart's hospital has adapted over the years far better than the building that houses it, according to Winn Army Community Hospital's administrator.
"When this hospital opened in 1983, that emergency department was state of the art. That's 30 years ago now and it's no longer state of the art," noted Col. Ronald Place.
Winn leaders broke ground on the latest expansion, $37 million emergency department.
"Gutting the existing emergency department and modernizing would be much more difficult than just building a new one," Col. Place explained. "Second, where would we provide emergency services while that was going on?"
That wing will sit right across from the first expansion phase that started a year ago. The phase one expansion will house therapy and rehab services as well as behavioral health.
The buildings will expand some services already offered and move them out of portable buildings around post. Col. Place said this generation of soldiers faces more short term and long term injuries than in the past.
"It's a combination of the training requirements that go into it, combine that with not just one deployment but multiple deployments. It's not just Iraq and Afghanistan," Col. Place detailed.
The expansion buildings will make room in the existing building to enlarge and relocate Winn's pharmacy and dining areas. Place said the pharmacy will be moved closer to the exterior of the building so patients can get in and out more quickly and will double the number of stations. He said twice as many people use the dining area than when it was built. The project will eventually include new kitchens, serving areas and twice the seating.
He said it will give them more modern space for soldiers to heal, physically or mentally. However, that expansion will not come easily or quickly. They will move the current ER entrance during construction, among other temporary measures. The construction on phase two should be finished in two years.