Wounded warriors to find new home at Sanctuary Hall in Bethesda -- Gazette.Net


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After more than two months in the hospital, Lance Cpl. Tim Donley, 20, is looking forward to his new quarters.

A two-bedroom suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center will be his home for at least a year, as he recuperates from an roadside bomb that cost him multiple limbs. Helping him recuperate is his mother Kathryn Donley, who will live with him on campus.

“He’s not in danger of dying,” she said. “His wounds are healing. But that is so just the beginning. The whole purpose of putting him in a suite like this is to encourage his independence and help him relearn how to live. And also to keep him safe.”

Wounded warriors like Donley soon will have a new home in Bethesda.

The $62 million federal project will transform a surface parking lot and World War II-era building into a 470-space parking garage and 200-bed transitional housing facility. The 4.6 acres is located on the north side of campus along Taylor Road, near the fitness center, dining facility and main hospital.

Severely injured patients generally are housed in Building 62, which includes 153 two-bedroom suites that each feature their own washer and dryer and kitchenette.

The new Sanctuary Hall will encourage veterans to leave their room and work together. Washers and dryers and kitchenettes will be located in common areas, said Lt. Christopher Hurt, construction manager for Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington.

A great room will feature a café and seating, while the four-story roof will be outfitted with plants, seating and walking paths. The exterior will include a playground, barbecue station and scenic overlook by Stoney Creek, a tributary of Rock Creek.

The project was approved Thursday by the National Capital Planning Commission in Washington, D.C. It was first envisioned in the medial center’s 2008 Master Plan, which provides a blueprint for future growth.

Groundbreaking is slated for the last week in May. Construction on the parking garage and lodge will be simultaneous. The garage should be complete in 15 months, while the lodge is scheduled to debut in February 2014.

“It’s similar populations, but Sanctuary Hall is designed for people who are closer to discharge from the hospital,” Hurt said.

Rooms will be Americans with Disabilities Act accessible, with furniture, closets and other features designed for people in wheelchairs or on crutches.

“Then we’re planning some other rooms for people that are quadruple amputees, where even hitting just a light switch is difficult,” he said.

To offset energy use at Sanctuary Hall, the parking garage roof will be outfitted with a photovoltaic system, and the entire project will be designed to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver rating.

Hurt said construction will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and delivery routes will minimize traffic impacts.

jablamsky@gazette.net