Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio: Military’s Medical Headquarters

Fort Sam Houston is known as the “Home of Army Medicine” and as of 2011 is the largest and most important military medical training facility in the world. Kudela & Weinheimer’s San Antonio office has had the opportunity provide landscape architecture for two projects at Fort Sam, IMCOM and METC.

IMCOM is the acronym for Installation Management Command. According to Wikipedia, this arm of the United States Army “supports the war fighting mission by providing standardized, effective & efficient services, facilities and infrastructure to Soldiers, Civilians and Families for an Army and Nation engaged in persistent conflict.” The group is made up of: The former Installation Management Agency (IMA); the former Community and Family Support Center, currently known as Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and the former Army Environmental Center. The purpose for the newly organized IMCOM was simply to “focus on installation management and enhance the well-being of Soldiers, Families and Civilians,” according to Wikipedia.

The METC is short for Medical Educational & Training Campus, it offers over 60 academic programs in various medical specialties to US enlisted military students. The METC is an integrated campus under a single university-style administration, it has affiliations with several academic bachelors and masters degree programs with universities such as Baylor University, University of Texas Health Science Centers at Houston and San Antonio, and University of Nebraska. The Army Medical Department and School trains more than 25,000 students annually. All military medical training has been consolidated at Fort Sam Houston as a result of the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Commission). Fort Sam Houston is The Military’s Medical Headquarters, and the METC covers more than 2,000,000 square feet of the Fort Sam Houston campus.

Kudela & Weinheimer has a broad variety of projects our portfolio and we are honored to have had the opportunity to give our military personnel an enjoyable outdoor built environment. Through HJD Capital Electric, Inc and Allen Nutt Architect, K&W handled 5 phases of street and parking lot additions for the IMCOM campus. We designed planting and landscape according to the Army Corp of Engineers Guideline Standards and maintained a budget of $100,000 for the entire project with a $30,000 landscape budget.

The METC Integration Plan proposed troop walks, lighting, and landscaping to unify all the separate components of the METC campus and integrate it into a cohesive campus. We completed a planting design that helped serve that purpose. We selected the plant palette according to the constraints of the project. Most notably, plants had to provide interest all year, but also be drought tolerant and able to survive the San Antonio climate without continuous irrigation (environmentally friendly and sustainable). For the design, we placed trees and planting beds at major points of interest along the walks, using the palette to create interesting repetitions that integrated the campus. The scope included proposing planting along 3,800 Linear Feet of walkway, with a $50,000 landscaping budget.

The METC is estimated to bring $15 billion  per year to San Antonio and is reported to have already brought $621 million to the San Antonio economy.

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