Precast exterior wall panels are quickly rising to the top of 17-story and 15-story office towers as construction continues on the $1.8 billion Department of Defense Office Complex at Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. The Corps' New York District is managing design and construction of the project, which will relocate around 6,400 Defense Department employees from leased office space in the region to a single campus in Alexandria. The project is being completed as part of BRAC 2005 efforts, and is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2011. (MARC BARNES / ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS)
FORT BELVOIR, Va. — The $4 billion realignment campaign at this northern Virginia installation is not the biggest in the Army, but it certainly is the most complex, involving 160 Defense Department agencies and a myriad of local governments.
Under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission mandate, the transformation of Fort Belvoir involves 20 separate projects totaling 6.2 million square feet of building space, 7 million square feet of parking structures and the relocation of nearly 20,000 military and civilian employees from around the Washington area into facilities managed by Fort Belvoir.
The number of Defense agencies operating in Fort Belvoir facilities will increase from 135 to 160.
The main post population will increase from 23,000 to 26,400, giving it a larger workforce than the Pentagon, which has 3.2 million square feet of building space, and parking lots for nearly 9,000 cars.
Most of Belvoir's main post increase will support the operation of an $800 million, seven-story, 120-bed community hospital complex housing 25 primary and specialty care clinics.
It will replace the 53-year-old DeWitt Army Hospital, and along with the Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Md., will comprise the National Capital Region's integrated military health care organization, an outgrowth of the BRAC-ordered closure of Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Col. Mark Moffat, Fort Belvoir's deputy garrison commander for transformation, said the Belvoir Community Hospital will pick up about one-third of the patient services delivered by Walter Reed, while the remaining two-thirds will go to Bethesda, which also is being overhauled and expanded.
Because of the numerous facilities and services on main post, traffic flow through Belvoir's gates averages 30,000 each day, a number that is projected to increase to 48,000 after the BRAC projects are completed, according to Col. Jerry Blixt, garrison commander.
Moffat said Belvoir's major BRAC projects are on schedule for completion by Sept. 15, 2011, as required by the BRAC mandate.
Most of the 19,300 employees being added to the Belvoir community will work in facilities off main post.
The biggest of the noncontiguous projects is a $1.8 billion, 8,500-employee facility in the area of the post previously called the Engineer Proving Grounds.
Associated with this project is a 1.8-mile extension of the Fairfax County Parkway that will provide a contiguous link to U.S. Route 1 in the east, and main post.
The second major noncontiguous project is the Mark Center, a $1.08 billion complex that will house 6,400 employees from 23 Defense Department agencies now operating in leased facilities throughout the Washington area.
Located near the intersection of Seminary Road and I-395 in Alexandria, this complex includes two office towers, one 15 stories and the other 17 stories, and 3,840 parking spaces in two garages.
Traffic implications for this project could be severe, as it is located on the major, and congested, artery into Washington from the south.
An analysis by the Virginia Department of Transportation indicates that previous projections regarding the traffic implications may be severely understated.
"Conditions on the arterial network are projected to degrade by 2035," according to VDOT.
Without a more aggressive improvement plan, VDOT simulations "indicate complete gridlock conditions on Seminary Road and Beauregard Street in the vicinity of the Mark Center site as outbound traffic tries to exit the facility."
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Another noncontiguous project related to Belvoir transformation calls for the construction of a $61 million, 170,000-square foot Joint-Use Intelligence Analysis Facility at Rivanna Station, near Charlottesville in Albemarle County, Va.
About 800 Defense Intelligence Agency personnel and 200 employees of the National Ground Intelligence Center, a component of the Army Intelligence and Security Command, will occupy the new building.