Turner Construction

Turner builds the National Intrepid Center of Excellence to assist wounded soldiers when they return. War is hell. When the brave men and women in the U.S. armed forces return from that hell injured, they obviously need help. It’s the least anyone can do.

Turner Construction understands that.“It was a blessing to be involved with this project,” Project Manager Dave Wysong says. “An opportunity to help the soldiers who are out there fighting for us; I’m glad to do it.”

That project is known as the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE). It is located on the campus of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Site activities on the project started in March 2009, and occupancy is scheduled to begin in June 2011, Wysong says.

Fulfilling a Need

NICoE, designed by SmithGroup and Limbach, is dedicated to the most advanced research, diagnosis and treatment of American soldiers and veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other complex psychological health issues. Upon completion, NICoE will be donated to the Department of Defense by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

“[NICoE] is there to help soldiers get back on their feet,” Wysong explains. “[TBI] is a fairly new problem these days because of all the protective gear soldiers wear. In the past, the soldiers would unfortunately die, but because of the new protections, they come away injured and really need these services.”

The building itself consists of two floors and is occupied with the latest state-of-the-art medical equipment, including simulator rooms that provide injured soldiers with the tools to practice everyday tasks most of us take for granted. “There is a driving simulator and a living environment simulator that looks just like an apartment that has a kit­chen, living room and bathroom,” Wysong says. “This helps soldiers who’ve been hurt get back to the routine of living.”

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund used private donations to build the center, and most of the companies involved with the project made generous contributions, as well. Turner also up­graded the utilities of the National Naval Medical Center, contracting directly with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, to accommodate the requirements of the new NICoE building regarding power, telecom, chilled water, steam, domestic water, storm and sanitary. Wysong adds that although the building was built with private funds, it had to be blast-resistant, per military specifications. That means the structure had to be able to absorb a blast, which in turn meant solidifying the structure and the curtainwall.

Not only is the building going to help injured soldiers, it also will make less of an impact on the environment. “We knew from the beginning, that we were going for at least LEED Silver,” Wysong recalls. “We used recycled and regional material, post-landfill products, energy efficient lighting, water-saving faucets and toilets, installed a TPO roof and used reflective surfaces wherever we could.”

The only major challenge the project encountered was wet weather, Wysong says. That meant long days and even weekend work, but when Wysong thought about the sacrifices soldiers make, he and the work crew put it into perspective and just did the work, he says. At press time, Turner was putting the final touches on the NICoE building including architectural enhancements such as a metal sculpture inside the building and extra marble on the walls with an engraved dedication to the soldiers the center will serve.

Another sculpture imported from Switzerland and titled “Broken Circle” was placed outside the building. These last-minute touches were added when the work came in under budget and the owner wanted to make the building extra special.

The Turner Way

Wysong says Turner is a very ethical company and that fits right in with his style. “I quit a job where upper management wasn’t acting very ethical,” he states. “You have to be honest with owners, management and subcontractors. We strive for excellent reviews and want repeat customers. When we say it’s done, it’s done. We’re not going to come back and say we need to do this or that to get more money. We do it right the first time. There’s no value in padding numbers.”

The company also takes safety very seriously. For the NICoE job, Wysong says there were no lost time accidents and he can’t even recall anyone using the first-aid kit. “We do daily diligence and nobody works if there’s a problem,” he explains. “We have a full-time safety manager for every job and if someone is doing something wrong, we stop their actions and retrain them.” Wysong is no stranger to safety as he is an OSHA-certified instructor and often takes safety courses in his spare time.

Turner's Future

The construction market is volatile and nervous, Wysong says and private money has dried up. He adds that the company is fortunate to have a backlog of projects to keep it busy during the down times.

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