Army tries again to get bids on Wainwright hospital

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Army is going into a second round of bids to build a new hospital at Fort Wainwright at a cost that could total more than $200 million dollars.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will solicit bids in October to begin construction. The new hospital would replace the 50-year-old Bassett Army Community Hospital.

The Army put the project out for bids last fall. But the bids came in far above the $133 million allocated for the project.

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has said the hospital is key to keeping the post. So he pushed for additional funding. In July, an amendment was placed on a spending bill, bumping up the federal funding of the project $82 million from the amount that had already been approved.

If endorsed, the $215 million would replace that $133 million already approved for the project.

The Army is planning to award a contract in January and to start construction next summer. Originally, construction was planned to begin April 2001.

The Army said it has made some changes in the bid specifications to save money.

So far, $3.4 million has been spent to prepare the site near the current hospital.

The planned three-story building will support active-duty military and families from Fort Wainwright, Eielson Air Force Base and local military retirees.

The Army estimates about 25,000 people from a 46,400 square mile area will use the facility.

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